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Extinction mystery deepens after discovery of bird fossil from age of dinosaurs


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Dec 3, 2017
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Analysis of perfectly intact Mirarce eatoni reveals that it was just as well adapted to flight as modern birds, prompting questions about why it was wiped out

The skeleton of a vulture-sized bird from 75 million years ago has reignited a long-standing mystery about extinctions and the bird family tree.

Dubbed Mirarce eatoni, the unusual creature would have lived alongside dinosaurs in what is now Utah.

Analysis of the perfectly intact fossil specimen has revealed it was fully feathered and appears to have been just as well adapted to flight as modern birds.
Very interesting. I'll have to check into this. Fossils from the Age of Dinosaurs are common in Utah but this bird find is exceptional.

Stunningly complete fossil bird among largest in North America

ABOUT THE SIZE of a turkey vulture, a fossil found in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah is not only one of the largest dinosaur-era birds ever found in North America, but it is also the continent’s most complete skeleton for a long-extinct group of birds called the enantiornithines.

The enantiornithines, or “opposite birds,” were a primitive lineage related to modern birds that thrived globally during the Cretaceous period but were killed off the by the same mass extinction event that wiped out the nonavian dinosaurs 66 million years ago.
Incredible find sat on a museum shelf for years until a graduate student took it up as her doctoral thesis. Interesting NH article.
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