Archaeopteryx regains Bird status

Fossil creature Archaeopteryx that lived about 150 million years ago is back on its perch. It has again been brought in the class of Birds.

Background:

  • Archaeopteryx fossil was discovered in 1861 in Germany.
  • It possessed part-bird, part-reptile traits with broad wings and feathers like a bird, but it also had three-fingered claws, sharp teeth and a long bony tail similar to a dinosaur.
  • Classified as most primitive bird and as a transition b/w feathered dinosaurs and modern birds.
  • Some fossil discoveries of feathered dinosaurs in northeastern China over the past two decades have challenged Archaeopteryx’s place in bird evolution.
  • In July 2012, Chinese scientists excavated Xiaotingia zhengi, a previously unknown chicken-sized dinosaur. They carried out a statistical analysis of its anatomical traits that placed it in a group of bird-like dinosaurs called deinonychosaurs.
  • Recently an international team led by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences used more sophisticated statistical method to confirm the creature as Bird.

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