A Precocial Avian Embryo from the Lower Cretaceous of China

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Science  22 Oct 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5696, pp. 653
DOI: 10.1126/science.1100000

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An embryo of an enantiornithine bird has been recovered from the Lower Cretaceous rocks of Liaoning, in northeast China. The bird has a nearly complete articulated skeleton with feather sheet impressions and is enclosed in egg-shaped confines. The tucking posture of the skeleton suggests that the embryo had attained the final stage of development. The presence of well-developed wing and tail feather sheets indicates a precocial developmental mode, supporting the hypothesis that precocial birds appeared before altricial birds.

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