Extinct Cretaceous Bird Fossil from China with Preserved Feathers
Eoentantiornis buhleri
from Liaoning Province of China

Name: Eoentantiornis buhleri (Cretaceous Fossil Bird - a dinosaur descendant)

Phylum Chordata, Subphylum Vertebrata, Class Aves, Subclass Enantiornithes, Order Enantiornithiformes (Order went extinct along with the non-avian dinosaurs)

Geological Time: Late Cretaceous (~125 m.y.a.)

Size: 130 mm long (tip of skull to tip of toes), 68 mm across at wings. Matrix: 200 mm by 145 mm

Fossil Site: Liaoning - Jiufotang Formation, Dapingfang, Chaoyang, Liaoning Province of China

Eoentantiornis buhleriThe Enantiornithine birds at one time were the dominant group of birds during the Creatceous, only to go the way of the dinosaurs by the end of the perioid. Their name is derived in the meaning “opposite birds” due to a reverse articular arrangement between the scapula and the coracoid from the typical birds of today. Eoenantiornis (Hou, Zhou & Feduccia, 1999) is one of the most primitive members of this subfamily; its name means dawn opposite bird, signifying its primitive status The first specimens found showed a total of twelve teeth present in the distinctively short, triangular skull.

Notice the wings; the wing claws are visible, particularly the alular claws. The alula (or “bastard wing”) is a feathered structure which provides modern-day birds with additional lift during slow flight. Neither Confuciusornis nor Archaeopteryx had an alula, and so are thought to have been unable to take off directly from ground level. Well-articulated specimens with feather preservation are rarely offered. The wing feather preserved in good detail here is fully 60 mm long, with other feathers evident as a carbonized film. As is usually the case, the specimen did not split exactly into a part/counterpart such that some bones are found on either side, rather than bones to one side and impression on the other.

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Large image to right (.5 MB)
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Left Matrix

Right Matrix

Wing claw in picture to left

Large feather in picture to right

Large feather in picture to left

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