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Friday, June 16, 2006

First Modern Bird

One of the things I love about birds and other animals, are the evolutionary ties that bind us together over hundreds of millions of years. Birds have been flying about since the Mesozoic Era, when our own ancestors were small creatures that looked almost nothing like us. A find published today in Science reveals the earliest known "modern" bird--something that looks like a duck or a loon. Earlier birds belonged to orders that have since died out, but this bird (Gansus yumenensis) appears more closely related to the birds that survived the extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period about 65 million years ago. See a story about the find here.

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