- For 150 years, Archaeopteryx held the "world's oldest known bird" record, but scientists now believe this animal was a dinosaur.
- A new, small dinosaur from China shares traits with Archaeopteryxand likely evolved from it.
- Many dinosaurs experimented with flight and feathers, but only some evolved into birds and survived extinction.
Archaeopteryx, widely regarded as being the world's oldest known bird, has just been knocked off its scientific perch, since new research concludes this feathered animal was, in fact, a dinosaur.
The study, published in the latest issue of the journal Nature, falls on the 150th anniversary of Archaeopteryx's discovery. This part avian, part reptile-looking animal was found less than two years after Darwin's groundbreaking "Origin of Species" was released. It quickly became a memorable visual symbol of evolution at work.
With Archaeopteryx likely removed from the bird family tree, a few other prehistoric species now become the world's oldest known birds.
"Epidexipteryx and Epidentrosaurus, two species we described years ago, are probably the most primitive and oldest known birds," lead author Xing Xu told Discovery News, adding that they lived about 160 million years ago at what is now Dahugou Locality in eastern Inner Mongolia.