Remains of 'bizarre' long-legged bird-like dinosaur found in China
Scientists said on Wednesday they have unearthed in Fujian Province the fossil of a Jurassic Period dinosaur they named Fujianvenator prodigiosus – a creature that sheds light on a critical evolutionary stage in the origin of birds, SIA refers to foreign media.
The question of whether the Fujianvenator, with its curious mixture of skeletal features, should be classified as a bird depends on how one defines a bird, according to study leader Min Wang, a palaeontologist at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
About 148 to 150 million years ago, a strange pheasant-sized and bird-like dinosaur with elongated legs and arms built much like wings inhabited southeastern China, with a puzzling anatomy suggesting it either was a fast runner or lived a lifestyle like a modern wading bird.
A remarkable event in dinosaur evolution came when small feathered two-legged dinosaurs from a lineage known as theropods gave rise to birds late in the Jurassic, with the oldest-known bird – Archaeopteryx – dating to roughly 150 million years ago in Germany.
Fujianvenator is a member of a grouping called avialans that includes all birds and their closest non-avian dinosaur relatives, Wang said.
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