Research NewsPaleontology

Missing Link Ties Birds, Dinosaurs

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Science  20 Mar 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5358, pp. 1851-1852
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5358.1851

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On page 1915, researchers describe a new species of primitive bird from Madagascar, called Rahona ostromi, which lived 65 million to 70 million years ago and had feathered wings like a modern bird, but also had a long, bony tail and a sickle claw like a meat-eating theropod dinosaur. Although it lived 80 million years after the first known bird, Archaeopteryx, R. ostromi may be one of the most primitive birds known and joins a gallery of recently discovered creatures that seem part bird and part dinosaur, researchers say. But this find won't end the fight over bird origins; researchers skeptical of a dinosaur ancestry say that the team may have mistakenly combined bird and dinosaur bones.