The Chinese complete fossil discovery that provides possible evidence of a direct link between birds and dinosaurs in the midst of incremental evolutionary change was found flattened between rocks in the Jiufotang Formation, where many other ancient bird and dinosaur fossils have been recovered, as Science News writes. The fossil discovery dates from the Cretaceous period (rendered above), which lasted from around 145 million years ago to roughly 66 million years ago, as Britannica explains.
Speaking with Sci.News, Dr. Min Wang, who co-authored the study on the Jiufotang Formation findings, explained the Creataceous period is marked by an incredible diversification of land-based vertebrates and early birds as they slowly diverged from their theropod ancestors. It’s from around this same time that science has observed early birds develop the bauplan — or body structure — of modern counterparts, Dr. Wang said. The most crucial part of the Jiufotang Formation fossil study, though, is what it told scientists about the development of modern bird skull structure.