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Mystery bird-like footprints are 60 million years older than the earliest birds

Still Waters

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An ancient ornithological mystery is the subject of a new paper that looked at fossil tracks made by unknown ancient animals dating back as far as the Late Triassic. They are distinctly bird-like, which doesn’t sound too strange – until you take into account that, at 210 million years old, some of them predate the oldest known true bird bones by a cool 60 million years.

If the tracks weren’t made by birds, who was strutting around on these bird-like feet? It feeds into the murky emergence of birds we’re still learning a lot about, as while we know that birds evolved from dinosaurs, exactly when and from which species still isn’t known for certain.


The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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