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Scientists unearth 'most bird-like' dinosaur ever found

AFP  |  Paris 

Researchers in have unearthed a new species of flying dinosaur that flapped its wings like a raven and could hold vital clues as to how modern-day birds evolved from their reptilian ancestors.

For more than a century and a half since its discovery in 1861, Archaeopteryx -- a small feathered dinosaur around the size of a crow that lived in marshland around 150 million years ago -- was widely considered to be the oldest flying

Palaeontologists from (LMU) in and the examined rock formations in the German region of Bavaria, home to nearly all known Archaeopteryx specimens.

They came across a petrified wing, which the team initially assumed to be the same species. They soon found several differences, however.

"There are similarities, but after detailed comparisons with Archaeopteryx and other, geologically younger birds, its fossil remains suggested that we were dealing with a somewhat more derived bird," said from

They called the new bird-like dinosaur Alcmonavis poeschli -- from the old Celtic word for a nearby river and the who discovered the fossil,

The study, published in the journal eLife Sciences, said Alcmonavis poeschli was "the most bird-like discovered from the Jurassic".

As well as being significantly larger than Archaeopteryx, the new specimen had more notches in its wing bones that pointed to muscles which would have allowed it to actively flap its wings.

Significantly, this "flapping" trait found in Alcmonavis poeschli is present in more recent birds, but not in Archaeopteryx.

"This suggests that the diversity of birds in the late Jurassic era was greater than previously thought," Rauhut said.

The discovery is likely to fuel debate among dinosaur experts over whether birds and developed the ability to flap their wings from earlier gliding species. "Its adaptation shows that the evolution of flight must have progressed relatively quickly," said Christian Foth, from the University of Fribourg, and a

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 15 2019. 17:51 IST
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