University Of Rochester Discovered New Prehistoric Bird Species

Posted: Dec 20 2016, 6:51am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

University of Rochester Discovered New Prehistoric Bird Species
(L) An artist’s rendering of Tingmiatornis arctica. (R) An artist’s conception of the bird’s possible environment 90 million years ago, characterized by volcanic activity, a freshwater bay, turtles, fish, and champsosaurs. Credit: University of Rochester illustration / Michael Osadciw
  • Novel Arctic Bird Fossil that is 90 Million Years Old has been Discovered
 

A novel type of bird fossil of the Arctic region that is 90 million years old has been discovered.

A group of geologists has found a new avian species in the Canadian Arctic region. The fossil of this ancient bird is 90 million years old. This fossil is the oldest one belonging to a bird that has been found in the area.

It belongs to a time when a warming of the globe took place. This was in the late Cretaceous Period. The bird looks like a mixture of a huge seagull and a diving avian like the cormorant. However, it had teeth. 

This bird was named Tingmiatornis arctica. The ecosystem that existed during the heyday of this avian species was warm instead of cold. We are talking about an era that occurred more than 90 million years ago.

Such fossils of birds allow us moderns to make a guesstimate about the community of life forms that were extant at that time in prehistory. A record of the climatic system that was present way back then will add to our picture of prehistoric temperatures. 

We could get a better idea of where we are headed in terms of climate change after a thorough survey of the fossils of that time in prehistory. Before the discovery of this avian fossil it seemed that there were slightly warm periods alternating with cold ones way back then.

Yet now after the discovery of the fossil, we know better. Actually the temperatures way back then were much warmer than we had supposed. In fact, it was super-warm. The period in prehistory would not have been possible in a context of ice sheets. 

The ancient avian species probably lived in an environment of fiery volcanoes. There was also a placid freshwater bay in the region. The temperatures were like those in present day Florida, hot and humid.

Other creatures besides the bird such as turtles, fish and champsosaurs (crocodile-like animals) were extant back then. The fossil record shows how the world would have looked and felt like without any ice at the Arctic.

The picture we get is one of a huge contrast to the one we have today of lots of ice and few animals. The volcanoes in that time pumped out carbon dioxide into the surrounding air thereby causing a greenhouse effect.

The heat became virtually unbearable. The structural-functional analysis of the ancient bird fossil shows how it was highly adapted to the hot and humid atmosphere.

Their findings of this discovery published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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