How did birds come to get their wings? And when did they start to fly? Most scientists believe there’s a connection between today’s birds and dinosaurs, and a recent discovery just added more evidence to the theory. On a construction site in Ganzhou, China, an ancient ancestor of birds named the Tongtianlong limosus, meaning “muddy dragon,” was discovered for the first time. Apparently, the dinosaur was trapped in mud where it fossilized with spread wings for over 66 million years. Construction workers nearly destroyed the animal fossil with dynamite, but the bones were exposed just in time to be uncovered.
The University of Edinburgh and the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences categorized the newly discovered species as part of the oviraptorosaur family, known for their toothless heads and sharp beaks. Although flightless, the Tongtianlong limosus still had wings and feathers. The characteristics of this new dinosaur does offer some clues into modern-day birds, their origins, and evolutionary process. China has been a hot pot for the discovery of many feathered fossils. Hopefully with more research, we’ll truly unearth the direct link between dinosaurs and birds.
John Nah For The Junior Times (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1. Where is the construction site where the ancient ancestor of birds was discovered?
2. What does Tongtianlong limosus mean?
3. What is the oviraptrosaur family known for?
1. Do you think more scientists will come to China to study about feathered fossils?
2. Fifty million years from now, what kind of fossils do you think scientists will find?
3. If you were a scientist, what kind of fossil would you like to find?