August 8, 2017

Perot Museum Scientist Co-Authors Paper on Discovery of Japan's Oldest Fossil Bird

During a walk near a reservoir in Hokkaido, Japan, amateur collectors (and brothers) made the discovery of their lives – the first and oldest fossil bird ever identified in their country. The new species has been named Chupkaornis keraorum – Chupka is the Ainu word used by indigenous people from Hokkaido for ‘eastern,’ and keraorum is named after Masatoshi and Yasuji Kera, who discovered the specimen. The bird would have lived during the time when dinosaurs roamed the land. The scientific paper describing the find has been posted by the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. Perot Museum VP of Research and Collections and Chief Curator Anthony R. Fiorillo, Ph.D. is a co-author on the paper and works with several of the Japanese co-authors in his Alaska field work. The discovery has broader importance beyond Asia. “This study not only tells important new information about the evolution of this unusual group of birds, it also helps further our understanding of life in the ancient northern Pacific region, more specifically what was going on in the ocean while dinosaurs walked the land,” Dr. Fiorillo explained.

See and read more about the discovery below.

  • Scientific reconstruction Chupkaornis keraorum by Japanese paleo-artist Masato Hattori
  • Press Release (doc)
  • Press Release (web)
  • Press Release (PDF)
  • Research paper in Journal of Systematic Palaeontology (PDF)