January 20, 2002 | David F. Coppedge

Daffy Duck Found in Dino Park

A fossil duck from the Cretaceous has been discovered, indicating that the branch of birds including waterfowl already coexisted with the dinosaurs.  A press release from NC State explains the significance of the paper published in Nature1 this week.  Dr. Julia Clarke and colleagues say this means that “at least duck, chicken and ratite bird relatives were coextant with non-avian dinosaurs.”

1Clarke et al., “Definitive fossil evidence for the extant avian radiation in the Cretaceous,” Nature 433, 305 – 308 (20 January 2005); doi:10.1038/nature03150.

Wow, those early birds must have evolved from dinosaurs pretty fast.  This seems to require a dramatically accelerated rate of lucky mutations per year.  Beware, Charlie: gambling is addictive.

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Categories: Birds, Dinosaurs

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