New Archaeopteryx fossil provides further insight into bird, dinosaur evolution
When it comes to feet, the earliest-known bird species had more in common with Velociraptors than cardinals.
Modern bird feet have a hind toe that points backward and helps the birds perch on branches, power lines, and pirates' shoulders. And until a recent discovery of an extremely well-preserved skeleton of the earliest-known bird species, Archaeopteryx, scientists believed it too had a "perching toe."
The new fossil, known as the "Thermopolis specimen," is incredibly well-preserved. It left clear impressions of its wing and tail feathers in the limestone it was encased in, and the skull is the best-preserved of all the 10 specimens ever discovered. But it may be the feet that prove to be the most important aspect of the find.
Science research article
Also posted on Panda's Thumb since I'm too far behind even in lay reading in this area to be able to make any insightful comments beyond, "this is so cool!" :) Hopefully some of the experts there will pick up my slack.