STL Science Center

STL Science Center

07 January 2017

Talking About Birds

This week, because last week contained National Bird Day, we are going to discuss a well-known fossil bird that we have not yet discussed. Described and named in 2002 by Zhou and Zhang, Sapeornis chaoyangensis is a 30cm long Chinese fossil named after the Society of Avian Paleontology and Evolution. Still sporting a mouth full of teeth, Sapeornis was a primitive bird with many characters and appears to bridge the evolutionary gap to birds in that some are dinosaurian, some avian, and some clearly show evolutionary development between the two. A number of Chinese bird fossils found after Sapeornis have been synonimized with Sapeornis, meaning that there are a lot of differently preserved specimens of Sapeornis. This also means that we have a more complete image of Sapeornis than was understood when the bird was originally discovered. 
Hong Kong Science Museum display (photo by I, Laikayiu)

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