Modern bird surprise reported in New Scientist news, news@nature, Geotimes 15 June 2006, Science vol. 312 p1640 and BBC News 16 June 2006. Palaeontologists have found five well preserved specimens of a fossil bird in a quarry near Changma in Gansu Province China. The birds appear well equipped for both flying and swimming and were similar to present day loons and grebes. They had a thin flexible furcula (wishbone), a large crest on the breastbone and impressions of flight feathers around the wings. The foot bones have muscle attachments similar to those of present day swimming birds and are surrounded by impressions of webbed feet.

The fossils are dated as Early Cretaceous, between 105 and 115 million years old, but according to Jerald Harris of Dixie State College, Utah, who was part of the expedition “no one expected to find a bird this modern in rocks this old.” He also commented: “With a few exceptions, you could put any of its bones next to those of a modern bird and you would be hard pressed to see major differences.” Because of the fossils’ similarity to present day birds the researchers suggest that modern birds evolved from an aquatic ancestor. The news@nature article comments: “Be they pelicans or penguins, bowerbirds or budgies, all of today’s roughly 10,000 species of bird might trace their roots back to an ancestor that splashed into life in a pond or lake some 110 million years ago, in the early part of the Cretaceous period.”

BBC, New Scientist

Editorial Comment: Finding a fossilised “modern” bird is no surprise to Creation Research. The idea that other birds such as pelicans, penguins, bowerbirds and budgies are descended from this newly found fossil is pure imagination. All our observations of birds are that they reproduce after their own kinds. The fact that some only exist as fossils simply proves that some kinds have died out and are a good reminder that the world is degenerating, not going from simple to complex. (Ref. Aves, bones, waterfowl)

Evidence News 24 April 2007