DALLAS, March 24 (UPI) — A Texan who has been hunting fossils as a hobby since childhood has discovered what experts believe are bones from the oldest birds known in North America.
Kris Howe’s four bone find, the largest a 2.5-inch shoulder blade, does not look impressive, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. In fact, Tony Fiorello of the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science descried the bones as “reminiscent of what you might find in the bottom of a KFC bucket.”
But Fiorello and Ron Tykoski, a paleontologist at the museum, say they are the remains of a previously unknown species, a flightless bird that lived 96 million years ago. The bird was a member of the Enantiornithes group, and the scientists in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology said Howe’s find is about 10 million years older than previous North American specimens.
Fiorello said it was fortunate that Howe, a Carrolton resident, spotted the fossil bones near Lake Grapevine. Howe had the experience to recognize what looked like lumps of mud as fossils and the connections to summon expert help.
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