Prehistoric birds are a fascinating topic for many people. For some, it stirs up images of dinosaurs roaming the earth. But for others, it represents a time before humans when nature was untamed and wild. Whatever your view, there is no doubt that these ancient creatures are interesting and worth learning about.
So, without further ado, here are 5 prehistoric birds you need to know about:
Archaeopteryx is a genus of early birds from the Jurassic period. It was one of the first fossilized birds ever found, and for a long time it was known as Urvogel, or “original bird”.
Archaeopteryx had teeth in its jawline and claws on the end of each wing which allowed it to grip tree branches, and it is thought to have been a competent flyer. It was about the size of a crow, with a wingspan of around 1 meter (3.3 ft).
Anchiornis is one of the most important prehistoric birds because it was so closely related to modern-day birds. As a result, fossils of this bird can help us better understand how our species evolved in comparison.
The fossil remains are rare and were first discovered in Liaoning, China in 2017. They were then sent to Beijing for further study, where a team of researchers led by Xiaoting Zheng and Fucheng Zhang from the Capital Normal University was able to reconstruct the bird’s appearance and behavior.
From their findings, they determined that Anchiornis probably looked a lot like a modern-day chicken or quail. It was a small bird with dark feathers and a light-colored beak. The wings were slightly different from those of modern birds, as they had more “fingers” which may have been used to help the bird climb trees.
Researchers believe that Anchiornis was probably a ground-dwelling bird that fed on insects and other small animals.
Baptornis is a prehistoric bird that lived in the Late Cretaceous Period. It was first discovered in 1876 and is one of the few birds to have been found with an almost complete skeleton. Baptornis used to be classified as a seagull or pelican, but it was later reclassified as its category of prehistoric bird.
Baptornis was a large bird, with a wingspan of up to 6 feet. It had a long, curved beak that is used to catch fish. Baptornis also had webbed feet, which suggests that it spent a lot of time in the water.
Chaoyangopterus was a prehistoric bird that lived during the Cretaceous Period. It had a wingspan of over 6 feet and was one of the largest birds to ever live. Chaoyangopterus is thought to have been a predatory bird and may have eaten small dinosaurs.
Enantiornithes are a group of extinct avian dinosaurs that lived during the Mesozoic Era. They were among the most successful and diverse groups of flying animals ever, with over 150 species having been identified so far in fossil form. Enantiornitheans first appear after the extinction event which wiped out all other major prehistoric flyers, such as pterosaurs.
While most enantiornithean species were roughly the size of modern-day birds, some, such as Iberomesornis and Gobipteryx, were quite small, with wingspans of less than half a meter. The largest known member of this group was the Chinese species Longipteryx chaoyangensis, which had a wingspan of up to five meters.
Enantiornitheans were the dominant group of flying predators during the Cretaceous period and are known to have preyed on small dinosaurs, lizards, and insects. They were characterized by several unique features, such as clawed fingers on their wings and teeth in their beaks.
The first enantiornithean fossils were discovered in the late 19th century, but it was not until the 1970s that this group of animals was properly identified and studied. Since then, numerous fossil finds have shed light on the anatomy, biology, and evolutionary history of these fascinating creatures.
Enantiornithes went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period along with all other non-avian dinosaurs. The exact reason for their demise is not known, but it is likely that changing climates and the arrival of new competitors, such as birds, played a role.