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2009 Science News of the Year

In 2009, scientists announced the discovery of Anchiornis huxleyi.

A. huxleyi, the oldest known bird-like dinosaur, lived in what is now northeastern China between 151 million and 161 million years ago. The animal sported two types of feathers. One kind, which resemble the feathers of modern-day birds, adorned the creature’s feet and lower legs as well as its forelimbs — an arrangement that may have made the creature clumsy on the ground and upholds the notion that flight originated from the trees down. Other fossils found were partially covered with stiff, unbranched filaments. The science world cites this discovery as important in filling a gap in the transition between the body plans of flying avian birds and non-avian dinosaurs.

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