Early Adaptive Radiation of Birds: Evidence from Fossils from Northeastern China

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Science  15 Nov 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5290, pp. 1164-1167
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5290.1164


Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous birds from northeastern China, including many complete skeletons of Confuciusornis, provide evidence for a fundamental dichotomy in the class Aves that may antedate the temporal occurrence of the Late Jurassic Archaeopteryx. The abundance of Confuciusornis may provide evidence of avian social behavior. Jurassic skeletal remains of an ornithurine bird lend further support to the idea of an early separation of the line that gave rise to modern birds. Chaoyangia, an ornithurine bird from the Early Cretaceous of China, has premaxillary teeth.

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