The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our just-released 2019 Annual Report.

This ‘hot mess’ bird links dinosaur and avian evolution

| | October 4, 2018

Yes, birds are technically modern dinosaurs. But sometimes it’s tough to tell where the non-avian dino ends and the bird begins. As John Pickrell at National Geographic reports, scientists have now discovered a 127-million-year-old fossil that blends its avian features with some pretty prehistoric quirks, shedding new light on the evolution of flying birds.

[T]he newly-named Jinguofortis perplexus was kind of a hot mess. In fact, it derives the latter half of its name from its perplexing occupancy of a sort of dino-bird uncanny valley, according to new the paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As it turns out, J. perplexus may have been bafflingly ill-adapted at flying—due mostly to growing pains as it transitioned away from its dinosaur relatives.

Related article:  DNA analysis shows ‘everyone had been wrong’ about mysterious Siberian unicorn

For one, J. perplexus sported some features we don’t typically see on today’s chickens and crows, like a toothy jaw in place of a beak.

The bird’s wonky wings illustrate that the the evolution of avian flight “was not one direct path,” [says paleontologist Dennis Voeten] “Dinosaurs may have ‘experimented’ with different flight styles”

Study author [Min] Wang agrees—and isn’t one to mince words. As he explains it to Pickrell at National Geographic, “This new bird fossil shows that [this evolutionary path] was much more messy [than we once thought].”

Read full, original post: This 127-Million-Year-Old Fossil Links Dinosaur and Bird Evolution

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.

Send this to a friend