APRIL 2, 2020
Researchers from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have found a new species of sandgrouse in six to nine million-year-old rocks in Gansu Province in western China. The newly discovered species points to dry, arid habitats near the edge of the Tibetan Plateau as it rose to its current extreme altitude.
According to their study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution on Mar. 31, the new species, named Linxiavis inaquosus, fills a nearly 20 million-year gap in the sandgrouse fossil record.
The fossil of the partial skeleton includes much of the body, such as the shoulder girdles, wishbone, bones from both wings, vertebrae, and part of a leg. Unfortunately, the head is missing.
"As the oldest fossil of a sandgrouse in Asia and the most complete fossil known from the group, the new skeleton provides a key link in expanding our understanding of the evolution of the sandgrouse living in China today, as well as the ecosystem associated with the Tibetan Plateau and the species that live only there," said Dr. Li Zhiheng, first author of the study.