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MAN MAY HAVE FOUND `MISSING LINK' BETWEEN DINOSAURS AND BIRDS
[February 21, 2006]

MAN MAY HAVE FOUND `MISSING LINK' BETWEEN DINOSAURS AND BIRDS


(New Zealand Press Association Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)Wellington, Feb 21 NZPA - A Napier amateur palaeontologist has found a rare fossil he believes could prove to be one of the missing links between dinosaurs and birds.

Trevor Crabtree, who has previously uncovered many fossilised remains in the Napier/Wairoa region, estimates his latest find -- going by the skin and feather quills -- lived 130 million years ago, which dates it to the Jurassic period.

``By the tail alone, it can be seen it is from the pteredon family,'' he told Hawke's Bay Today.

``Pteredons were flying reptiles, but this one has the wings of a bird.''

He said the only record that he could locate of a similar find linking flying reptiles and birds was a possible discovery in China.

``The problem is that the evolutionary lines are too diverse and there are too many gaps in the fossil records.

``The connecting links have still to be discovered.''

Mr Crabtree's find has been scanned and an X-ray sent to Auckland in an attempt to further unlock its secrets.

Photos have also been e-mailed to palaeontologists throughout the world to establish whether anything similar has been found.

NZPA WGT dj mgr

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