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November 23 2012

Birds Descended from Gliding Dinosaurs


Evidence is mounting that modern birds descended from gliding, feathered non-avian dinosaurs.

Two dinosaurs could be candidates for the bottom of the bird family tree, and each helps to reveal how feathers first evolved.

"The oldest known feathered dinosaurs would be Anchiornis (155 million years ago) and Epidexipteryx (between 152 million and 168 million years ago)," Yale University paleontologist Nicholas Longrich told Discovery News. "Feathers seem to have appeared initially for insulation. Basically they start out as down, and later are used to make wings.".

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