Co-authored by Dr Gareth Dyke, Senior Lecturer in Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Southampton, the paper describes a new feathered dinosaur about 30 cm in length which pre-dates bird-like dinosaurs that birds were long thought to have evolved from.
Over many years, it has become accepted among palaeontologists that birds evolved from a group of dinosaurs called theropods from the Early Cretaceous period of Earth’s history, around 120-130 million years ago. Recent discoveries of feathered dinosaurs from the older Middle-Late Jurassic period have reinforced this theory.
The new ‘bird-dinosaur’ Eosinopteryx described in Nature Communicationsthis week provides additional evidence to this effect.
“This discovery sheds further doubt on the theory that the famous fossil Archaeopteryx — or “first bird” as it is sometimes referred to — was pivotal in the evolution of modern birds,” says Dr Dyke, who is based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.
CONTINUED at Science Daily.