Chinese scientists discovered fossils of a 110 million year old waterfowl, the oldest known remains of anatomically modern birds. The fossils were in a superb state of preservation, complete with feathers and webbed feet.
The five fossils, found in Gansu province 2,000km west of Beijing, strengthen the emerging scientific view that early birds evolved in aquatic environments.
The skeletons of the ancient birds, which lived 55m years before dinosaurs became extinct, suggest that they dived for their food like modern grebes or ducks. The species, described in today's issue of the journal Science, has been given the Latin name Gansus yumenensis.