An illustration depicting the bird Falcatakely forsterae amidst non-avian dinosaurs.(REUTERS)
An illustration depicting the bird Falcatakely forsterae amidst non-avian dinosaurs.(REUTERS)

Bird with scythe-like beak that lived 68 million years ago shed light on avian diversity

Scientists said the bird, called Falcatakely forsterae, possessed a face unlike any other known bird from the age of dinosaurs.
By Reuters | Posted By: Trisha Sengupta | Washington
UPDATED ON NOV 27, 2020 05:13 AM IST

A delicate but exquisitely preserved skull of a crow-sized bird with a scythe-like beak that inhabited Madagascar 68 million years ago is showing scientists that they have a lot of learn about avian diversity during the age of dinosaurs.

Scientists on Wednesday said the bird, called Falcatakely forsterae, possessed a face unlike any other known bird from the age of dinosaurs - the Mesozoic Era - not only because of the beak shape but because of its underlying anatomy.

Its beak looked superficially like that of a small toucan though the two species are not closely related. While modern birds exhibit a great variety of beak shapes - from the sword-billed hummingbird to the rhinoceros hornbill - little such diversity had been discovered among Mesozoic birds.

An artist’s reconstruction of the bird Falcatakely forsterae that lived 68 million years ago. (REUTERS)
An artist’s reconstruction of the bird Falcatakely forsterae that lived 68 million years ago. (REUTERS)

Falcatakely’s 3.5-inch (9-cm) skull remains partially embedded in rock because the scientists did not want to risk harming it. Instead they analyzed it using sophisticated scanning and digital reconstruction. Only its skull was found.

“Amazing, small, delicate, fragile, challenging to study - all at the same time,” said Ohio University anatomy professor Patrick O’Connor, lead author of the research published in the journal Nature.

“Bird fossils are particularly rare in part because they have such delicate skeletons. Hollow bones aren’t great at surviving the fossilization process,” added paleontologist and study co-author Alan Turner of Stony Brook University in New York.

“Because of this, we need to be aware that we are probably under-sampling the Mesozoic diversity of birds. A newly discovered species like Falcatakely provides a taste of the tantalizing possibility of a greater diversity of form waiting to be discovered,” Turner said.

Birds evolved from small feathered dinosaurs about 150 million years ago. Early birds retained many ancestral features including teeth. The Falcatakely fossil has a single conical tooth in the front part of the upper jaw. Falcatakely probably had a small number of teeth in life.

It belonged to an avian group, enantiornithines, that did not survive the mass extinction event 66 million years ago, ending the Cretaceous Period.

“Unlike the earliest birds such as Archaeopteryx, which in many ways still looked dinosaurian with their long tails and unspecialized snouts, enantiornithines like Falcatakely would have looked relatively modern,” Turner said.

It was in the underlying skeletal structure where its differences were more apparent, O’Connor added, with more similarities to dinosaurs like Velociraptor than modern birds.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
app
Close
FILE PHOTO: An Uber Eats food delivery courier's backpack is seen in front of a fast-food restaurant as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Amsterdam, Netherlands.(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: An Uber Eats food delivery courier's backpack is seen in front of a fast-food restaurant as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Amsterdam, Netherlands.(REUTERS)

Dutch borrow dogs and buy delivery uniforms to dodge curfew

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:42 AM IST
From Saturday, a nightly curfew to try and curb the pandemic starting at 21:00 (20:00 GMT) and running until 04:30 will be imposed, the first nationwide curfew since World War Two.
Close
People participate in a beer yoga session, as the country eases the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, at a craft brewery in Phnom Penh, Cambodia January 19, 2021. Picture taken January 19, 2021. REUTERS/Cindy Liu(REUTERS)
People participate in a beer yoga session, as the country eases the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, at a craft brewery in Phnom Penh, Cambodia January 19, 2021. Picture taken January 19, 2021. REUTERS/Cindy Liu(REUTERS)

Beer yoga classes resume post lockdown in Cambodia

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:04 AM IST
Connor Cheney Kirsch, general manager of BeerPro Import Export Co., which owns TwoBirds, said the classes, held in a former garment factory, were about community and bringing people together after work.
Close
Bengal safari has been set up over 700 acres of forest land in Siliguri.(Twitter/@ANI)
Bengal safari has been set up over 700 acres of forest land in Siliguri.(Twitter/@ANI)

West Bengal Zoo Authority releases 3 tiger cubs in Bengal safari

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 09:48 AM IST
Currently, there are seven tigers in the open tiger enclosure in the Bengal Safari, near Siliguri.
Close
Indy Mellink, designer of genderless playing cards, poses in Oegstgeest, Leiden, Netherlands.(REUTERS)
Indy Mellink, designer of genderless playing cards, poses in Oegstgeest, Leiden, Netherlands.(REUTERS)

23-year-old Dutch card fan creates gender-neutral deck

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 09:18 AM IST
Indy Mellink has been testing the cards out on players, who said they had never been conscious of sexual inequality in decks before.
Close
Shared on the subreddit ‘Made Me Smile’, the clip shows a man in front of an online class setup.(Reddit/@avastans)
Shared on the subreddit ‘Made Me Smile’, the clip shows a man in front of an online class setup.(Reddit/@avastans)

Wholesome video shows kindergarten teacher vibing with kids in online class

By Srimoyee Chowdhury
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 08:19 AM IST
Teachers sometimes can go the extra mile to make their classes super fun for children. This Reddit video is the perfect example of that notion.
Close
The image was shared on official Instagram account for NASA's Hubble Telescope.(Instagram/@nasahubble)
The image was shared on official Instagram account for NASA's Hubble Telescope.(Instagram/@nasahubble)

NASA shares pics of Jupiter’s northern and southern auroras. Seen them yet?

By Trisha Sengupta
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:55 AM IST
“So wild to see auroras on other planets!” wrote an Instagram user while commenting on the post.
Close
Devoted dog Boncuk waits at the entrance of a medical care facility.(AP)
Devoted dog Boncuk waits at the entrance of a medical care facility.(AP)

Dog spends days outside hospital waiting for her human in Turkey

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 11:22 PM IST
The pet, Boncuk (Bon-DJUK), which means bead, followed the ambulance that transported her owner, Cemal Senturk, to a hospital.
Close
The image shows the duo in question.(Twitter/@SheldrickTrust)
The image shows the duo in question.(Twitter/@SheldrickTrust)

Video of oryx hanging out with its ostrich buddy may make you miss your BFF

By Trisha Sengupta
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 10:03 PM IST
Sheldrick Wildlife took to Twitter to share the adorable video.
Close
The image shows the newly inaugurated library.(Twitter/@ANI)
The image shows the newly inaugurated library.(Twitter/@ANI)

Street library opened at Embassy of India, Antananarivo to spread joy of reading

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 08:18 PM IST
The street library houses a large variety of Indian books like biographies, history books, literary fiction and nonfiction books.
Close
The throwback image shows Smriti Irani with her daughter Zoish Irani.(Instagram/@smritiiraniofficial)
The throwback image shows Smriti Irani with her daughter Zoish Irani.(Instagram/@smritiiraniofficial)

Smriti Irani shares throwback pic, Twinkle Khanna reacts with this emoji

By Trisha Sengupta
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 06:36 PM IST
“Throwback to my girl’s first day at school as she now preps for her 12th standard board exam," reads a part of the post shared by Smriti Irani.
Close
Chrissy Teigen took to Instagram to share this image.(Instagram/@chrissyteigen)
Chrissy Teigen took to Instagram to share this image.(Instagram/@chrissyteigen)

Chrissy Teigen becomes only celeb to be followed by @POTUS on Twitter. Know why

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 06:13 PM IST
The other accounts followed by Joe Biden’s @POTUS include First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, among others.
Close
Valeriu Nicolae shows a boy how to correctly brush his teeth in Nucsoara, Romania, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. A gentle hero to many in Romania, Valeriu Nicolae says that, at heart, he is more like former NBA star Michael Jordan — highly competitive and eager to improve in what he does best. In Nicolae’s case that is helping others. The rights activist has earned praise for his tireless campaign to change for the better the lives of the Balkan country’s poorest and underprivileged residents, particularly the children. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)(AP)
Valeriu Nicolae shows a boy how to correctly brush his teeth in Nucsoara, Romania, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. A gentle hero to many in Romania, Valeriu Nicolae says that, at heart, he is more like former NBA star Michael Jordan — highly competitive and eager to improve in what he does best. In Nicolae’s case that is helping others. The rights activist has earned praise for his tireless campaign to change for the better the lives of the Balkan country’s poorest and underprivileged residents, particularly the children. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)(AP)

Romania activist Valeriu Nicolae urges people to do something good every day

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 05:01 PM IST
Since starting in 2007, Valeriu Nicolae's humanitarian organization Casa Buna, or Good House, has taken upon itself to support and supervise 315 children.
Close
The image shows Rockhopper penguins.(Twitter/@AndzB)
The image shows Rockhopper penguins.(Twitter/@AndzB)

Waddling penguins meet midway, exchange ‘pleasantries’. Watch

By Srimoyee Chowdhury
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 04:57 PM IST
The video was taken by the director of the Falkland Islands Museum & National Trust, Andrea Barlow.
Close
The image shows Xena with Ladybug.(Instagram/@goldengirl_xena)
The image shows Xena with Ladybug.(Instagram/@goldengirl_xena)

Netizens can’t stop gushing at doggo’s ‘top line’ security procedure. Watch

By Srimoyee Chowdhury
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 01:47 PM IST
Chances are you’ll totally want to hire the doggo for your home security too.
Close
The image shows US Senator Bernie Sanders.(Twitter)
The image shows US Senator Bernie Sanders.(Twitter)

Bernie Sander’s cosy attire sparks meme fest on Twitter

By Srimoyee Chowdhury
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 12:28 PM IST
The US Senator was spotted at the venue wearing a cosy jacket and a pair of mittens along with an envelope tucked under his arms.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP