New (old) bird species named for biologist Alan Feduccia

Confuciusornis feducciai (photo: UNC News)Congratulations to author Alan Feduccia, who has just had a 120-million-year-old bird named after him!

The fossil of the early Cretaceous period bird, named Confuciusornis feducciai, was recently discovered in ancient, dried up lake deposits in Liaoning Province in northeastern China, an area that has produced a “gold rush” of fossils in the last decade, Feduccia said. He helped to describe the genus Confuciusornis – named after the Chinese philosopher Confucius – in a paper in the journal Nature in 1995.

In 1985 Alan Feduccia edited a collection of the pathbreaking work of Mark Catesby, the British naturalist and illustrator who founded natural history and bird art in America (preceding Audubon by nearly a century).

photo: Confuciusornis feducciai (UNC News)