A fossil of a small dinosaur looking like an accidentally discovered bird might be the key to understanding the relationship between modern birds and their dinosaur ancestors.
The fossil, known as the Lori, was discovered in 2001 and shows a deeper evolution of the time when birds acquired the ability to fly and the confirmation that feathered dinosaurs existed in North America, according to a report. report published Wednesday, directed and co-authored by UW-Madison Researchers.
"What's been revealed most often is how Lori fits into the dinosaur," said Dave Lovelace, scientist and principal investigator of the UW-Madison Geology Museum project. "It helps us to flesh out the story."
Lori, the oldest winged dinosaur ever discovered in North America, was discovered in Wyoming while researchers were digging another huge dinosaur, which Lovelace said was important because of the perception of dinosaurs as creatures mainly huge.
"It is very difficult to find small animals in the fossil record," he said. "It was happy."
After her discovery more than a decade ago, Lori was finally brought to UW-Madison in 2014 for a research led by Scott Hartman, a UW graduate student. This research showed that birds probably only had the ability to fly later than scientists thought, probably in the last half of the Jurassic between 160 and 100 million years ago.
He also revealed that the ancestors of the birds had probably acquired the necessary adaptations to fly, such as feathers and wings, a few million years before they took flight. Lovelace suggested that these adaptations helped animals run faster.
But the findings also confirmed what some scientists have been thinking for some time – that small feathered dinosaurs like Lori existed in North America, Hartman said.
"Based on fossils from China and Europe, it has long been predicted that small feathered dinosaurs also had to live in North America, and we can now confirm this with tangible evidence," he said. -he declares.
Hartman said he wanted to continue to evaluate "major transitions in the history of life" and that more research on Lori and other stories like this would continue.