BEIJING, Sept. 25 (UPI) — A feathery four-winged fossil found in China proves birds evolved from dinosaurs, archeologists at the Academy of Science in Beijing said.
The fossil is the most well-preserved of several dinosaur-related fossils with feathers found this year in northeastern China, Xu Xing, a professor at the academy told the BBC in a story published Friday.
“All over the skeleton, you see feathers,” Xu said of Anchiornis huxleyi, which has 4-foot-long wings and belongs to the Troodontidae, a family of theropods most closely related to birds.
The fossils, excavated from Jianchang County, are believed to be more than 150 million years old, about 10 million years older than Archaeopteryx, the oldest recognized bird, which was discovered in Germany.
A. huxleyi’s four wings may have been key to the evolutionary transition from dinosaurs to birds, said Xu, whose findings were presented this week at the annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontologists, held this year at Britain’s University of Bristol.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International