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World's Earliest Bird Fossil Unearthed in China to "Fly to" Japan

The world's earliest bird fossil discovered in north China's Hebei Province will be sent to Japan for an exhibition on July 15, Chinese researcher Jiqiang told Xinhua Sunday in this capital of Hebei Province.

Yoichi Azuma, deputy director of Japan's Fukui-ken County Dinosaur Museum made an on-spot investigation into the fossil's birthplace in Hebei's Fengning County this month, to prepare for the exhibition in Fukui-ken County in Japan.

The fossil would also be exhibited in two other places in Japan.The bird fossil, named as Jinfengopteryx elegans and claimed as the earliest in the world, was discovered at the late Mesozoic stratum last July.

Researchers found feathers attached to the whole body of the bird, which has a triangular-shaped head and 36 smooth teeth inside the short beak. The fossil consists of 12 sections of cervical vertebrae, 11 sections of spine vertebrae and 23 sectionsof caudal vertebrae.

The bird's tail is 27.3 centimeters long, or about 50 percent of its total length. Based on careful research on the 205 characteristics of Jinfengopteryx elegans, Ji Qiang, a research fellow with the Geology Institute under the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, said that it was more primitive than the archaeopteryx, previously considered the world's earliest bird, which was discovered in southern Germany in 1861.

Ji said that several factors could underpin their conclusion. The Jinfengopteryx elegans' hind legs are longer than its forelimbs while the German bird's hind legs and forelimbs almost at the same length. Also the Jinfengopteryx elegans has more and longer teeth than the one discovered in Germany.



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