Fossilized remains of a raven-size bird with strong dinosaurlike features - including a "killing claw" - have been found in a rock formation deposited more than 65 million years ago on the island of Madagascar.
Researchers said the discovery gives strong support for the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs.Catherine A. Forster of the State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Medicine said Tuesday that the fossils are from a very primitive type of bird never before seen.
She said the creature had the wing structure of a bird but the long tail and a huge "sickle-shaped killing claw" that resemble such features in meat-eating theropod dinosaurs.
"This animal gives powerful new evidence to support the theory that birds descended from dinosaurs," Forster said. She said the fossil may be "the strongest last nails in the coffin" for those who doubt that birds evolved from dinosaurs.
A report on the study by Forster and her colleagues will be published Friday in the journal Science.
The bird fossil was found in a rock quarry among a number of other dinosaur-era fossils on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar off the east coast of Africa.