Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fossils show flood wiped out colony of dinosaur-era birds - 10th Nov 2011

The fosslised remains of a massive colony of prehistoric birds - with claws and saw-like beaks - are giving scientists a new glimpse of life at the time of the dinosaurs.

The new fossil find, which includes bones of adult birds and chicks, as well as clusters of broken and intact eggs, is the result of an ancient flash flood that wiped out an entire colony of the birds.

The birds belonged to the enantiornithines, the most abundant and diverse bird group of theprehistoric period. Almost all retained teeth and clawed fingers on each wing, but were in all other respects like modern birds.

According to scientists studying the fossil find, the flash flood disaster happened in the late Cretaceous Period, about 100 million years ago, in what is now Transylvania, Romania.

The jumbled remains, preserved in river-side limestone in the Sebes area of Romania, show that the colony was completely surprised by the flood.

Study researcher Dr Gareth Dyke, of the University of Southampton, said the find was important because it's the first evidence that ancient birds nested along the water like modern birds. Read More