The world’s first working owl found on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau

The world's first working owl found on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau

The coral bone of the cloud -making owl Miosurnia diurna from China (below) with a prominent head (left). The optic bones or scleral ossicles are dark blue and resemble a ring inside the skull of a pygmy owl Glaucidium (upper right). Eaten: IVPP

A research group led by Drs. Li Zhiheng and Drs. Thomas Stidham from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has discovered the amazing fossil bone of a dead owl that lived more than six million years ago in China. Their detailed study of the fossilized eye bones reveals how the owl works during the day, not at night.

The group’s information was published Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) and Malachi 28.

Fossils from rocks deposited during the Miocene Epoch at an altitude of more than 2,100 meters (nearly 7,000 feet) in the Linxia Basin of China’s Gansu province, on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau.

The monarch protects all the flesh from the tip of the skull on the wings and legs to the tailbone with parts of the body that are not known to be mineral, such as the bones of the tongue called Hyoid, trachea, kneecap, muscles for the wings and legs, and the rest of its posterior part of a small mammal.

This kind of death is the first story of the ancient owl in the sun, or action in the sun. Researchers have named the species Miosurnia diurna in relation to its life partner, the diurnal Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula). The features of the head and skeletal bones, with a large bump on the part of the cheekbone directly behind the eye, indicate that Miosurnia is part of the Surniini owl group. Their research shows that the Surniini, which includes Miosurnia, the Northern Hawk Owl, and pygmy owls, declined at night millions of years ago.

Owls are different from most other birds in that they work hard at night. However, many people do not know how many owls there are in the diurnal.

“The amazing care of the eye bones in this royal skull allows us to see what this owl wants during the day and not at night,” said Dr. LI, the first author of the study.

The world's first working owl found on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau

Reconstruction of the captive owl Miosurnia diurna perched in a tree with its last prey of a small mouse, watching three-legged horses and rhinos as the Tibetan Plateau climbed. in the air. Eaten: IVPP

The small bones are a ring around the pupil and the iris on the outside of the eye. Nocturnal animals need larger eyes and larger pupils to see lower levels, but nocturnal animals have smaller eyes and pupils.

In the Miosurnia diurna model, the soft parts of the eye have decayed in the past, leaving small trapezoidal scleral ossicles that have fallen into the owl’s eye. For this reason, paleontologists need to measure these small bones and create some basic geometry to reconstruct the size and shape of the ring around the eye.

“It’s like playing with Lego blocks, just on the computer,” said Dr. Stidham, describing how the 16 small ribs adjoin each other and form a ring around the iris and pupil. He said the proper combination of them would allow scientists to determine the entire diameter of the ring and the opening for the light in the center.

IVPP scientists conducted detailed statistical analyzes, comparing the scleral ossicles of a fossil owl with the eyes of 55 species of reptiles and more than 360 species of birds, including many owls. Looking at the size and shape of the oyster’s eye and its small opening to light, scientists have concluded that it is very similar to the eyes of living owls in the Surniini group, which is not very large. night.

In addition, scientists have developed a much larger amount of statistical data, known as ancestral reconstruction, using functional data from 360 species across bird species. Researchers have used the avian family tree to recreate ancestral species of birds, including owls, that control night and day.

Their results show that the night is the ancestor of all living owls, but the ancestor of the Surniini group is a nocturnal species. When scientists included Miosurnia diurna oil in the analysis, the amount of Surniini’s gene was increased by 100%. The two lines of evidence from the action and the eye itself point to the evolution of the nature of the sun in this group of owls.

“This coral bone changes what we thought about owls growing on its head,” said Drs. Li.

Dr. Stidham adds that Miosurnia diurnia is the first story of an evolutionary process that spans millions of years and spreads over the world where owls grew up to “refuse at night for fun in the sun.”


Scientists reveal the complete amount of fossil oil from the owl’s earliest growth


More information:
The earliest known solar system on owls (Aves, Strigiformes) was written by a new and well -preserved Miocene monarch from China, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2022). DOI: 10.1073 / pnas.2119217119

Presented by the Chinese Academy of Science

Directions: The first fossil of a working owl in the world found on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau (2022, March 28) retrieved on 28 March 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-03 -fossil-daytime-owl-edge-tibetan .html

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