Research NewsPaleontology

Fossilized Hatchling Heats Up the Bird-Dinosaur Debate

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Science  06 Jun 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5318, pp. 1501
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5318.1501

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In this issue of Science, an international team of paleontologists reports the discovery in northern Spain of a remarkably well-preserved nestling bird from about 135 million years ago--the earliest hatchling yet discovered. Just 10 million years younger than Archaeopteryx, the first undisputed bird, the fossil shows that ancient birds matured much as they do now. Some paleontologists also think its mixture of primitive and advanced characteristics supports the hypothesized link between birds and dinosaurs.