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Scientists have long believed that birds evolved from the dinosaur. But a new fossil discovered in China is changing this theory. Let's take a look.
In China's Liaoning Province, a new fossil called the Xiaotingia was recently unearthed. The 155 million-year-old chicken-sized fossil is challenging scientists' traditional belief in the evolution of birds.
The Archaeopteryx, discovered 150 years ago, was believed to be the first evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds.
However, with this latest discovery, the Archaeoperyx may now be nothing more than a feathery dinosaur, and not, as scientists have long believed, to be the first bird.
The new fossil, Xiaotingia, and the Archaeoperyx share remarkable resemblances. However, the two fossils are closer to the group of bird-like dinosaurs rather than dinosaur-like birds.
[Professor Xing Xu, Paleontologist, Chinese Academy of Sciences]:
"We finally reached the conclusion that Archaeopteryx and Xiaotingia zhengi belong to the same family, and they should be put under the group of Deinonychosauria, not at the root of birds."
The Archaeoperyx was hailed to be the missing evolutionary link between bird and dinosaurs since its discovery in 1861. With this new find, that link becomes a mystery once again.