Microraptor's World

back | 10 of 13 | next

Ancient bird

Ancient bird
When feathered dinosaurs roamed the land, true birds soared through the Liaoning skies. Some were as big as albatrosses; others, such as this Confuciusornis, were more the size of pigeons. This fossil, dating to about 120 million years ago, reveals characteristics that make Confuciusornis a mix of primitive (more dinosaur-like) and advanced (modern bird-like) traits: Like dinosaurs and the oldest known bird, Archaeopteryx, it has three fingers that are not fused into a single element, but like modern birds, it has a toothless beak and a well-developed shoulder girdle to power flight.

The Four-Winged Dinosaur homepage | NOVA homepage