China: Two Prehistoric Bird Species.

25 Feb 2022.


In China, researchers have discovered specimens of two Prehistoric Bird Species. Its findings appeared in the Journal of Systematics and Evolution.

Changma Locality in China

  • The specimens were discovered from Changma locality in northwestern China.
  • It is an important place for paleontologists, to study bird evolution.
  • It is the second-richest Mesozoic fossil bird site worldwide.
  • However, more than half of the fossils found there belong to Gansus yumenensis.

Gansus Yumenensis

Gansus Yumenensis is a species of aquatic bird. It lived approximately 120 million years ago, during early Cretaceous epoch. It is the first known true Mesozoic bird in the world, because Archaeopteryx is more dinosaur-like.

Specimens from Changma site

  • The new six specimens from Changma site are just skulls and necks. Its parts are not preserved in known specimens of Gansus yumenensis. 
  • Fossils were also smashed by their time deep in the Earth, making its analysis difficult. But these new specimens include two new species, which will increase knowledge of Cretaceous bird faunas.
  • In the specimens, researchers have found combinations of dental features that were never seen in any other dinosaurs.

New Species

  • Researchers have found that, four of the six new specimens belong to Gansus yumenensis. While, two other specimens are considered new species namely, Meemannavis ductrix and Brevidentavis zhangi.
  •  Both of the new species are ornithuromorph birds, similar to Gansus yumenensis. Ornithuromorph is the group containing modern birds. Like present day birds, Meemannavis ductrix was toothless.
  • On the other hand, Brevidentavis zhangi had small, peg-like teeth and were packed close together in its mouth.

Brevidentavis zhangi

It is an ornithuromorph bird with teeth. In ornithuromorphs with teeth, there is a little bone at the front of jaw called “predentary”.

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