The remains of a new species of 100-million-year-old bird have been found in a fossil rich area of northeastern China's Liaoning Province, a Chinese archaeologist said Wednesday.
"The bird is different from other known birds of the Mesozoic Era (seven million-120 million years ago) at the medium to small size range with a distinct thorn-like process on its nose, which has never been found among other known fossil birds," said Dr. Li Li from the Institute of Mesozoic Paleontology of Western Liaoning of the Shenyang Normal University.
The findings give scientists a further opportunity to examine the diversity of early birds, said Li.
Li and her colleagues unearthed the fossil last October at the Dapingfang Town in the west of Liaoning where the remains of dinosaurs, fish and early bird species have also been found.
"We discovered the fossil about 16 meters underground and it immediately aroused our great interest as its nose was unusually long," said Dr. Li.
The well-preserved remains include a complete skeleton with a skull. The total length of the bird fossil is 216 millimeters and its head is 28 millimeters with a high crista, said Li, adding the bird was named as Dapingfangornis after the place where it was found.
The long tail feathers of the bird indicated it was male and its toothed jaws and strong ungula feet proved that it was small and carnivorous, said Li.
In addition, many fragmentary skeletons of fish and small reptiles were preserved under the feet of the Dapingfangornis, which indicates that the bird liked eating animals alive, said Li.
Li's findings have been published in the February English version of ACTA Geologica Sinica, a monthly by the Geological Society of China.