Dinosaurs Connections

From Dinosaurs to Birds

What was the bird-like animal named Confuciusornis sanctus?

The Confuciusornis sanctus, discovered in the northeast province of Liaoning, China, was a pigeon-sized, flying creature that may have appeared after the Archaeopteryx. (Its actual age is still debated, but it may be about 140 million years old, which is about 10 million years after versus the Archaeopteryx.) This animal had a horny, toothless beak. Before it was discovered, scientists thought toothless beaks did not appear until the Late Cretaceous period, about 70 million years ago. This creature also had feathers along its legs, making this (so far) the earliest known record of contour feathers on any animal.


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