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Meet the Wonderchicken that Survived the Dinosaur Extinction

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Channel: Seeker
Categories: Archeology / Paleontology   |   Biology   |   Science  
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Hidden inside an unassuming piece of limestone are the remnants of a creature that reveals an extraordinary link between the age of dinosaurs and the present day.
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An international team of scientists recently discovered the Wonderchicken, the oldest fossil of a modern bird yet found, dating from the age of dinosaurs.

The Wonderchicken combines many features common to both modern chicken and duck-like birds, and it is so much more than a well-preserved fossil. The Wonderchicken is a huge piece in the timeline of modern bird history and its discovery might change everything we once knew about birds' dino-heritage.

Find out more about how this new finding will impact our overall understanding of the origins behind modern birds in this Elements.

#birds #dinosaurs #fossil #wonderchicken #science #seeker #elements

Read More:
Fossil 'wonderchicken' could be earliest known fowl
The fossil bird has been named Asteriornis maastrichtensis, after Asteria, a Greek goddess of falling stars who turns into a quail. It was found in a quarry on the Netherlands-Belgium border.

How long did it take for life to rebound after the death of the dinosaurs?
Scientists working to understand how life rebounded after the K-T extinction found that it took another 4 million years before biodiversity returned to healthy levels in South America making the recovery period 125 times as long as the actual extinction.
And that's short, by global standards, said Penn State paleontologist Michael Donovan, the lead author of a study in Nature this week: North America took 9 million years to recover. It appears that ecosystems are a lot like trust: They take a moment to break, and forever to rebuild.

Getting under a fossil's skin: how CT scans have changed palaeontology
The name tomography comes from the Greek tomos, slice, and graphos, to write, and this is wonderfully illustrative. CT scanners take x-ray images in the form of thousands of individual radiographs through the fossil. Each image is a single projection, from one angle, before the object is rotated by a degree or so and the next image taken. Once this process is finished, software takes all of the images and reconstructs the fossils, generating slices through the object then knitting them together into a three-dimensional graphic. Then the magic of digital palaeontology can begin.

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