1 Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing 100037, China
2 The Dinosaur Institute, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007, USA
3 Xinghai Paleontological Museum of Dalian, Dalian 116023, Liaoning, China
This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.40902012) and the Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences (Grant No. J1206).
We describe a new species of Early Cretaceous bird from the Yixian Formation of Liaoning Province. Xinghaiornis lini gen. et sp. nov. is relatively large and characterized by a long, toothless rostrum and an elevated pedal digit I. The design of the skull and feet suggests that this bird was likely a mud-prober. This discovery provides strong support indicating that this avian trophic specialization originated at least 125 million years ago.