From a 90% complete skeleton from 125 mya (60 m years before T. Rex), first example announced in 2005, researchers learned:
The flying style is far closer to that found in modern birds than what was supposed of ancient flyers — which have been thought to rely more on gliding due to a lack of enough muscle mass in flying appendages to achieve flapping bursts.
“This isn’t a mode of flight we expected from Cretaceous birds,” Habib said, adding that its small size and overall shape are comparable to that of modern birds. “It was pretty much a Cretaceous starling with a larger tail like a mockingbird.”
Transported to the modern world, it wouldn’t look like anything special to the casual observer, until a closer examination revealed claws at the end of the bird’s wings and tiny teeth in its beak.
So basically, this is a “bird” bird that lived 125 million years ago, a contemporary of all those “feathers for T. Rex” dinosaurs who maybe don’t matter much any more.
Pause a moment to take that in, shall we? A mostly normal bird among all the feathered dinoflaps. The past sure isn’t what it used to be.
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