Resolving the Evolutionary Divide: Bird-like dinosaurs of a bizarre new species are discovered by paleontologists.

Another 150-million-year-old avialan theropod, Fujianvenator prodigiosus, has been found in China, offering new experiences into timely riser development and the Late Jurassic earthly biological system.

A lack of Jurassic fossils has hindered our understanding of the earliest evolution of the Avialae, the clade that includes all modern birds but not Deinonychus or Troodon. However, birds descended from theropod dinosaurs by the Late Jurassic. A clade is a group of organisms that share a common ancestor and all of the lineal descendants of that ancestor. (A clade is like a branch on the “tree of life.”)

Except for the Middle–Late Jurassic Yanliao Biota in northeast China (166–159 million years ago), no definitive avialans have been discovered to date. Mama) and the somewhat more youthful German Solnhofen Limestones, which save Archaeopteryx. As a result, the earliest evidence of birds from the Cretaceous is about 30 million years old. However, understanding the evolutionary history of the distinctive avialan body plan begins with the Jurassic avian. In addition, they are essential to resolving the phylogenetic debate regarding the origin of birds.

A New Discoveration A new 150 million-year-old avialan theropod from Zhenghe County, Fujian Province, was described and analyzed by a joint team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Beijing-based Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) and the Fujian Institute of Geological Survey (FIGS).

The discoveries were distributed in Nature on September 6.

The bizarre assembly of morphologies shared by other avialans, troodontids, and dromaeosaurids in the new species, Fujianvenator prodigiosus, demonstrates the impact of evolutionary mosaicism on early bird evolution.

The lead and corresponding author of the study, Dr. Min Wang from IVPP, stated, “Our comparative analyses show that marked changes in body plan occurred along the early avialan line, which is largely driven by the forelimb, eventually giving rise to the typical bird limb proportion.” Fujianvenator’s Unique Morphology In any case, Fujianvenator is an odd species that wandered from this fundamental direction and developed strange hindlimb design.”

In addition to other geological observations, Fujianvenator’s surprising elongated lower leg suggests that it lived in a swamp-like environment and was a high-speed runner or a long-legged wader, a previously unknown ecology for early avialans.

Geological Context and Implications Liming Xu, the study’s lead author, stated, “Besides Fujianvenator, we have found abundant other vertebrates, including teleosts, testudines, and choristoderes.”

Southeastern China experienced extensive tectonic activity during the Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous due to subduction of the paleo-Pacific plate. This caused widespread magmatism and coeval fault-depression basins, which are where Fujianvenator was discovered. The Yanliao Biota, which dates back to the Late Jurassic and is preserved in north and northeastern China, shares this geological background.

Dr. Zhonghe Zhou from IVPP, a co-author of the study, stated, “The extraordinary diversity, unique vertebrate composition, and paleoenvironment strongly indicate that this locality documents a terrestrial fauna, which we named the Zhenghe Fauna.” The Zhenghe Fauna is defined by in-situ radioisotopic dating and stratigraphic surveys as occurring between 150 and 148 Ma. As a result, Fujianvenator provides evidence for one of the Jurassic avian’s earliest strata and southernmost members.

The joint research team from IVPP and FIGS plans to continue their investigation of Zhenghe and the surrounding areas following the discovery of the Zhenghe Fauna. This provides a brand-new window into the planet’s terrestrial ecosystem during the Late Jurassic.

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