A connection between modern day birds and dinosaurs has been discovered by researchers at UW-Madison. The fossil of a small, winged dinosaur called Lori is at the forefront of this discovery.
Lori was found in Wyoming during the 2001 excavation of a much larger dinosaur. This discovery confirmed the existence of feathered dinosaurs in North America. The fossil also provided information narrowing down the times when birds were believed to have first taken flight.
According to UW-Madison’s research, millions of years before flying, birds had developed feathers and wings to help them run faster. It wasn’t until the later half of the Jurassic period, 100-160 million years ago, that birds took off.
The discovery of Lori, the oldest winged dinosaur ever discovered in North America, has become another significant point in the story of the evolution of birds. Dave Lovelace, senior researcher of the project, describes it as “serendipitous.”
[Source: Wisconsin State Journal]