Footprint fossil an unknown bird

Kyodo

The fossilized footprints of birds with webbed feet discovered in China in 2008 belong to a previously unknown species, officials at the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum said Wednesday.

At a news conference, the officials said the finding from earth layers of the early Late Cretaceous Period, dating back 85 million to 100 million years ago, marked the first discovery in China of fossilized footprints of a bird with webbed feet, and the second discovery of its kind in Asia after one in South Korea.

The newly found bird species had three toes like its present-day counterparts and webbing between them. The Fukui museum excavated the fossil in Dongyang, Zhejiang Province, with its sister institution, the Zhejiang Museum of Natural History.