has yielded yet another amazing primitive bird fossil. This
one, named Jeholornis primain (or Jeholoornis Primain) comes
from the Jiufotang Formation of north-eastern China, an area
that has yielded many other fossil bird treasures, as well as
feathered dinosaurs. Appearing in the July 25 2002 issue of
Nature, Zhou and Zhang state that this Lower Cretaceous bird
has a long tail resembling that of dromaeosaurid dinosaurs that
were small, fast, bipedal, and ostensibly closely related to
birds. Typical of many fossils from the Chinese Laggerstatten,
the exquisite preservation includes 50 plant ovules in the stomach
that is the earliest direct evidence of seed eating in a bird.
Additionally, while only slightly more developed than Archaeopteryx,
Jeholornis prima exhibits a skeletal structure well adapted
for powerful flight.
Zhou, Z. & Zhang, F. A long-tailed, seed-eating bird from
the Early Cretaceous of China. Nature, 418, 405 - 409, (2002).