Found: Missing Link Between Dinosaurs and Modern Birds

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Life restoration of Fukuipteryx prima. (Masanori Yoshida )

Newly Discovered Fossil Bird Fills in Gap Between Dinosaurs and Modern Fliers

by Riley Black/Smithsonian.com

Birds are ancient creatures. Every hawk, sparrow, pigeon and penguin alive today has ancestral roots dating back to the Jurassic, when the first birds were just another form of raptor-like dinosaur. Dozens of fossils uncovered and described during the last three decades have illuminated much of this deep history, but the rock record can still yield surprises. A fossil recently found in Japan is one such unexpected avian that raises questions about what else may await discovery.

The skeleton, named Fukuipteryx prima, was described by Fukui Prefectural University paleontologist Takuya Imai and colleagues today in Communications Biology. And while numerous birds of similar geologic age have been named in the past few decades, the details of these bones and where they were found have experts a-flutter.

The 120 million-year-old fossil was discovered in the summer of 2013 while searching for fossils at Japan’s Kitadani Dinosaur Quarry. “One of my colleagues at Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum spotted tiny bones in a block of siltstone,” Imai says. At the time, it wasn’t clear what creature the bones belonged to, but once the encasing rock was chipped away, the structure of the fossil became clear. The skeleton was an early bird, and an …..

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Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

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