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Researchers found 6-million-year-old fossil of extinct day hunting owl in China

A well-preserved fossil of an ancient owl that lived more than six million years ago in China has been unearthed by Chinese Academy of Sciences researchers. According to the fossilised eye bones found in the skeleton, this owl was active during the day, not at night.

The fossil was discovered in rocks at an elevation of more than 2,100 metres on the Tibetan Plateau during the late Miocene Epoch – a geological era that stretches from roughly 23.03 million years ago to 5.333 million years ago.

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The skeleton was nearly complete, including body parts that are seldom fossilised, from the apex of the skull to the tailbone. The hyoid bones, the trachea, the kneecap, tendons for the wing and leg muscles, and even the leftovers of its last meal are all there. This extinct species is the first record of an ancient owl being active during the day.


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