A new fossil of a tiny bird has been discovered in Spain. It was likely able to fly. Something that can't be said about other ancient bird fossils like the famous Archaeopteryx.
Birds have been around for a long time. The most famous is the 150 million year old Archaeopteryx found in Bavaria, Germany. Nobody knows if that bird could fly, most likely not. Some scientists even go as far as saying that the Archaeopteryx is not a bird and is just another dinosaur.
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Now a new fossil of a small bird found in Spain was most likely able to fly. It was likely zipping over the heads of the big dinosaurs trying to catch insects.
"The anatomical match between the muscle network preserved in the fossil and those that characterize the wings of living birds strongly indicates that some of the earliest birds were capable of aerodynamic prowess like many present-day birds," said Chiappe, the investigation's senior scientist.
The dinosaur age birds has a very different skelette, but its soft tissue is very similar to today's birds. Science does not know exactly how the first birds flew. The new fossil adds some more data points ot the research in this field.
The new fossil provides us with a unique glimpse into the anatomy of the wing of the birds that lived amongst some of the largest dinosaurs," said Chiappe. "Fossils such as this are allowing scientists to dissect the most intricate aspects of the early evolution of the flight of birds." Other members of the research team included Dr. Jesús Marugán-Lobón, Dr. José Luis Sanz, and Dr. Ángela D. Buscalioni from Madrid's Universidad Autónoma in Spain.
The details about the early Cretaceous bird can be found in the study titled "Soft-tissue and dermal arrangement in the wing of an Early Cretaceous bird: Implications for the evolution of avian flight" in journal Nature.