I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Friday, June 16, 2006

How I survived the the Cretaceous - Tertiary Extinction

No I'm not talking about me personally, I'm talking about birds. The Cretaceous - Tertiary extinction is when the dinosaurs disappeared from the face of the earth. The Cretaceous - Tertiary extinction occurred 65 million years ago and is thought now to have been caused by a large asteroid colliding with Earth. Approximately 70% of all species on Earth disappeared. That included all of what we think of a dinosaurs except for the birds (yes they are dinosaurs). So why did the birds survive? We may have the missing link that explains it.
Waterfowl fossils fill in a big missing link
Dozens of fossils of an ancient loonlike creature that some say is the missing link in bird evolution have been discovered in northwest China.

The remains of 40 of the nearly modern amphibious birds, so well-preserved that some even have their feathers, were found in Gansu province, researchers report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science. Previously only a single leg of the creature, known as Gansus yumenensis, had been found.

“Gansus is a missing link in bird evolution,” said Matt Lamanna of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.

“Most of the ancestors of birds from the age of dinosaurs are members of groups that died out and left no modern descendants. But Gansus led to modern birds, so it’s a link between primitive birds and those we see today,” (Graphic Credit Mark A. Klingler / CMNH)
So why is this important you ask?
The fact that Gansus was aquatic indicates that modern birds may have evolved from animals that originated in aquatic environments, the researchers said.
Most of the species that survived the Cretaceous - Tertiary extinction lived in or near water.

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