- A new dinosaur sheds light on the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds.
- The stubby-armed, toothy dino had a huge middle finger.
- This finger likely represented an early evolutionary stage for a massive claw found in later dinos.
The extended bird family tree just gained a new and distinctive member, according to an international team of scientists.
They have found a long-legged, toothy, stubby-armed, three-fingered dinosaur that was an important early member of the lineage that includes birds and their closest dino relatives.
The 160-million-year-old dinosaur, Haplocheirus sollers, is about 10 million years older than what is believed to be the world's first known bird, Archaeopteryx. It exhibits characteristics associated with both dinos and birds, but the new dinosaur was not a very close relative to birds, as some researchers had previously thought.
Nevertheless, the new species helps to fill in the fossil record and cement the long-held view that birds did indeed emerge out of the Maniraptora "hand snatcher" clade.