Dinosaurs are cool. We always get excited when a new discovery is made, especially when fossils help elucidate the evolutionary process. And we get even more excited when scientists make an exceptionally intriguing discovery, like a dinosaur with four wings(!) Found in Liaoning province, the Anchiornis huxleyi provides an interesting link in the evolutionary chain between birds and dinosaurs. And it’s from China, too!
In a paper in the journal Nature, they said they found the well-preserved fossil of the “Anchiornis huxleyi”, which roamed the earth some 160 million years ago, in a geological formation in China’s north-eastern Liaoning province.
About the size of a chicken, the fossil has a total body length of less than 50cm (20 inches) and a skull about 6cm long, lead researcher Xing Xu at the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing told Reuters in an email.
“This finding suggests that birds are likely to be descended from a kind of small-sized four-winged dinosaur about 160 million years ago,” Xu said.
The finding substantiates theories that Dinosaurs were the ancestors to birds, a conclusion that lacked proof before the recent finding. Of course, it’s only a step towards a bigger picture of evolution, but if the Anchiornis huxleyi looked anything like the artistic recreation, then we think it’s a pretty darn cool discovery. Maybe they can get one of these guys to spruce up the Shanghai Natural History Museum?
Photo: Sydney Morning Herald