Bird Brain? Cranial scan of fossil hints at flight capability

12:20pm, August 4, 2004

A detailed X-ray scan of the fossilized braincase of an Archaeopteryx shows that several features of the ancient feathered creature's brain and inner ear were highly developed and similar to those of modern birds.

Many scientists consider Archaeopteryx, which lived about 147 million years ago, to be the world's oldest known bird. The creature had many characteristics of dinosaurs, such as a full set of teeth and a long, bony tail, but it also had wings and feathers. Only seven fossils of the species have been recovered, says Timothy B. Rowe, a paleontologist at the University of Texas at Austin.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from this issue of Science News