7-million-year-old bird fossil found in NW China

Updated: 2011-08-19 15:19


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LANZHOU - A county museum in northwest Gansu province announced on Friday that it has found an intact bird fossil dating back seven million years.

Chen Shanqin, deputy curator of the Hezheng County Ancient Animal Fossils Museum, said it was the first intact bird fossil ever found in the county, which is located at the convergence of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Loess Plateau.

The fossil features a struggling bird with its wings fully stretched and legs tightened, Chen said.

Judging from the stratum where it was buried and other earlier-found animal fossils, Chen said the fossil could date back more than 7 million years.

Further study, however, is needed to identify the species, he said.

Archeologists have found more than 30,000 ancient animal fossils in the county and neighboring areas, including those of the primitive three-toed horse, the platybelodon, which is known as a shovel tusker, and a woolly rhino, which dates back 2.5 million to 30 million years, according to Chen.