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Chinese expert recovers world's oldest flower and bird
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Digital artistic rendering of the stand-up China Confucius bird – the world's "oldest bird with a horned beak"

The world's earliest known bird and flower were "recovered" by a Chinese expert on June 17. Zhao Chengwen, a chief professor with the Chinese Criminal Police Institute, a criminal profiling expert, and also a trace archaeologist, displayed his recovery images in Chaoyang City, Liaoning Province, Xinhua reported on June 18.

The Confucius bird fossil was discovered in 1996 in Chaoyang, a city in the west of Liaoning Province, and is 130 million years old. It is believed to be the world's oldest bird with a horned beak. The fossilized ancient Chinese fruit, discovered in 1998, is 145 million years old. As the world's earliest known angiosperm, it has been called "the world's oldest flower".

Digital artistic rendering of the Chinese dragon bird

In the process of recovery, Mr. Zhao made comprehensive use of modern technology and archaeological knowledge. Take recovering the Confucius bird, for example. First, he recovered the outline of the Confucius bird according to its fossil. Using his equipment, he measured the ratio between parts of the body.

He also expansively researched and made an analysis based on existing documents and images, some experts' conclusions, and stories from local elders that had been passed down from generation to generation. He identified what belonged to the Confucius bird's original physical structure and what had been deformed during the fossil's formation. Lastly, using software he developed, he added information from his research and analysis to produce a final image.

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