Fossil bird egg hatched after 121 million years, according to reports in Science, vol 306, p653, 22 October 2004 and BBC News 21 Oct 2004. Palaeontologists from the Chinese Academy of Science claim to have found the oldest unborn bird ever discovered. It was found in Lower Cretaceous rocks in North-eastern China. The bird is tightly curled up in the position typical of an unborn baby bird with the imprint of a shell around it, but its bones and feathers were well formed. This indicates it was “prococial” bird whose young are able to walk and feed soon after they hatch, just as baby chickens and ducks do today. (This is in contrast to “altricial” birds, whose young are naked and helpless when they are hatched and need to be cared for by their parents in a nest.) The scientists were able assess how well developed the baby bird was because the fossil was exceptionally well preserved with that all soft tissue structures clearly visible.


Editorial Comment: In spite of being found in rock strata believed to be from the “age of the dinosaurs” this fossil is a fully formed bird. Furthermore, the fact that it is exquisitely preserved, indicates it was buried rapidly before any decay could destroy the fine detail, and deeply before it could be scavenged. This fossil fits the Genesis account very well, i.e. birds were created in separate kinds as fully functioning creatures, and some time after Creation some birds were rapidly and deeply buried, so the rock record did not require vast ages to form. (Ref. bird, egg, fossil)