At 67 Million Years Old, Oldest Modern Bird Ever Found Is Natural ‘Turducken’
by Katherine J. Wu/Smithsonianmag.com
Roughly 66.8 million years ago—not long before the end-Cretaceous extinction that wiped out all non-avian dinosaurs—a diminutive, quail-sized bird met an unfortunate and untimely end.
But the relatives of this pint-sized creature—a newly described fossil cheekily dubbed “Wonderchicken”—lived on, helping to seed the enduring, diverse lineage of birds that still fills the skies of the modern world.
Now the oldest known member of the contemporary branch of the avian family tree, Wonderchicken (formally Asteriornis maastrichtensis) could help today’s paleontologists better understand how birds weathered the extinction that purged three-quarters of all plant and animal species from the surface of the Earth. As such, the petite, ancient fossil represents “one of those great discoveries that come up a few times in a lucky lifetime,” Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, a paleontologist at Yale University who was not involved in the study, tells Cara Giaimo at the New York Times.
Birds first showed up on the paleontological scene around 150 million years ago, making their debut with toothsome terrors like Archaeopteryx that likely resembled their more reptilian-looking dinosaurian ancestors, reports George Dvorsky for Gizmodo. Sometime during the Cretaceous, though, our feathered friends began to shed their teeth, bony tails and clawed wings ….read more:
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 – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.