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Today's animal has been in the news lately, due to a recent discovery relating to its fossils. But mor eon that in a bit. Jeholornis is one of the most ancient birds that we known off-- it lived more than 120 million years ago. Its fossils have been found in China, and were only discovered for the first time back in 2006. (Fun fact: the area where this bird was found is also home to the fossils of many of feathered creatures, including feathered Dinosaurs!)

Jeholornis does not seem to be a direct ancestor of mordern birds-- they come from different lines. However, because of how old this bird is, it can tell us a lot about the early members of the Aves class, and about the evolution of wings and feathers.

Recently, fossils have popped up that suggest Jeholornis had two tails. It was always known that they had a long train of feather, but now there are fossils that show a second tail-- a set of plumage that sticks up from the bird's back.

Scientists can only speculate what the second set of plumes was used for, but use in mating rituals is a good guess. The newly-found tail would jut out similar to the displays done by Peacocks. So far this is the only known bird to have this feather feature!

Status : Extinct 120 Million Years
Location : China
Size : Total Length up to 2.5ft (80cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : †Jeholornithiformes
Family : †Jeholornithidae -- Genus : †Jeholornis
Image : Aijuan Shi


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