The new fossil has significant importance, because of the shape of it’s feathers. Analysis of the preserved specimen can shed light on the development of rachis-dominated feathers.
It is believed that this new fossil, is the oldest known skeleton of a aviary like creature in the hole of the southern hemisphere including Africa , South America and Australia once bound to a single continent known as Gondwana.
These “feathers” did not help with flight or balance, say scientists.
The “bird” like creature was small in size with a total of 5.4 inches length from beak to tail end. The majority of it’s length was however the”feathered” tail 3 inches long. Compared to 2.4 inches it measured in body and beak length the tail seems to of been useful either for identification or mating rituals.
The discovery comes as a great surprise to paleontologists, previously this type of bird like feathers with ribbon like feathers was discovered only in Asia.
Finding a specimen with these kinds of features in South America, signifies that , different species of dinosaur birds, evolved “feathers” in different ways, and for different purposes.
The skeleton was discovered as part of a large group of fossils, recovered from Brazil’s Araripe Basin. Fossils discovered in the basin have an estimated age ranging from 100 to 120 million years.
The new species has not been named yet, but scientist determined that it belongs to a specific group called Enantiornithes. This group is comprised of avian creatures, more than 50 types of species pertaining to this group were found.
What is different about this fossil in particular, is the amazingly well preserved shape of it. Not only are all the bones present but also the shape of the feathers.
The fossilized specimen also present some clues as to it’s coloring pasterns. The luckiest development for the research team, was that the fossil was not flat, but had volume thus contributing to identifying a detailed structure of the flightless bird.
Because of some identifiable features like the large eyes in relation to it’s body and Bone structure, it is considered that the small bird was a juvenile.
Many species of insects, fish and reptiles were discovered in the Araripe Basin, they date from the Cretaceous Period.
Image Source: Daily Mail