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Photos: Dinosaur-Era Bird Sported Ribbon-Like Feathers

A bird with spotted, ribbonlike tail feathers once flew around the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, a new study finds. Until researchers uncovered the bird's 115-million-year-old fossilized remains in 2011, the scientific world had evidence of birds with ribbonlike tails living only in the Northern Hemisphere. Now, researchers have proof that these unique birds also lived in the Southern Hemisphere during this critical time of bird evolution. [Read the full story on the bird with ribbonlike tail feathers]

Twin feathers

An illustration of the Cretaceous fossil of a bird that measured just 5.5 inches (14 centimeters) from head to tail. Researchers found the fossil in the Araripe Basin of Brazil. (Image credit: Deverson Pepi)

Sitting pretty

A drawing of the 115-million-year-old fossilized bird uncovered in northeastern Brazil. Researchers are waiting to give the bird a new genus and species, but said it fits into the Enantiornithes group, which encompasses a large diversity of birds that lived during the time of the dinosaurs. (Image credit: Gabriel Lio)

Fabulous fossil

The 2011 finding is now the oldest known bird from Brazil. The fossil shows exceptional preservation of the bird's ribbonlike tail feathers. (Image credit: Ismar de Souza Carvalho)

Brazilian map

A map showing where the researchers located the fossil. (Image credit: Ismar de Souza Carvalho)

Rock of ages

The 115-million-year-old Cretaceous rocks where the oldest complete bird from Gondwana was found. The ancient supercontinent Gondwana included Africa, Antarctica, Australia, India and South America. (Image credit: Ismar de Souza Carvalho)

Close call

An artist's interpretation of an Enantiornithes escaping the jaws of a toothy predator. (Image credit: Deverson Pepi)

Rocky work

People search for new fossil specimens in the Cretaceous rocks of the Araripe Basin, Brazil. The fossils date from 100 million to 120 million years old. (Image credit: Ismar de Souza Carvalho)

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Laura Geggel
As an associate editor for Live Science, Laura Geggel covers general science, including the environment, archaeology and amazing animals. She has written for The New York Times, Scholastic, Popular Science and Spectrum, a site covering autism research. Laura grew up in Seattle and studied English literature and psychology at Washington University in St. Louis before completing her graduate degree in science writing at NYU. When not writing, you'll find Laura playing Ultimate Frisbee.