120 million-year-old fossils found in Japan reveal one of the oldest birds on Earth.
The skeleton, almost intact, dating from the early Cretaceous period, was found inside a stone in the "dinosaur graveyard" near the city of Katsuyama, in Fukui province, Japan. It was identified as belonging to an entirely new primitive bird , the Fukuipteryx prima .
Reconstructed image of Fukuipteryx prima.(Photo: SWNS).
According to Takuya Imai, lead author of the study, F. prima is about the size of a pigeon with gray-brown fur. They can shake their tails and flap their wings, but the ability to fly is not really good. This primitive bird lives in a flexible environment, with a mild and warm climate.
"F. prima can fly but not very well. It mostly glides or flaps its wings to fly in a short time ," Imai said. Scientists still do not have much information about their diet and enemies.
F. prima is the most primitive bird in the early Cretaceous period outside of China. The fossil analysis shows that they share some characteristics with Archaeopercx, a bird-like dinosaur genus (transition between the hairy and modern dinosaurs) that lived about 150 million years ago.
The findings were published in the journal Science Biology.