Oldest Bird Fossil discovered, nicknamed 'wonderchicken'

# Oldest Bird Fossil discovered, nicknamed 'wonderchicken'

The oldest fossil of a modern bird, dating from the age of dinosaurs, has been discovered, a new study reports.
The tiny fossil, nicknamed the "wonderchicken," includes a nearly complete skull hidden inside nondescript pieces of rock, and dates to more than 66 million years ago. 
That's less than 1 million years before the asteroid impact that killed off all the large dinosaurs.
An artist's reconstruction of the world's oldest modern bird, Asteriornis maastrichtensis, in its original environment.
Source - www.usatoday.com
"This is one of the best-preserved fossil bird skulls of any age, from anywhere in the world," he said. "We almost had to pinch ourselves when we saw it, knowing that it was from such an important time in Earth's history."
The seagull-size shorebird had features of both ducks and chickens as well as turkeys. Detailed analysis of the skull shows that it combines many features common to modern chicken- and duck-like birds, suggesting that the "wonderchicken" could be the last common ancestor of modern chickens and ducks.

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