Quick Gansus Facts
- Lived during the Late Cretaceous Period
- Lived in what is now Asia
- Was about the size of a pigeon
- Floated on rivers and lakes like a duck
- Was a Piscivore
- Could be one of the earliest known birds
Gansus were aquatic birds that lived approximately 110 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period in China. A single fossilized foot of this bird was found in 1981 at an ancient lake at Changma, Gansu in China. The bird was named in 1984, after the province it was found.
Gansus was a bird that was about a foot long and weighed approximately a few ounces – making it about the size of a pigeon. However, while it may be the size of a pigeon, it doesn’t really look like one. If you had to compare it to a modern bird, then you probably would compare it to a diving bird. It looks pretty close to this bird. Which you can tell by looking at Gansus pictures.
One of the most fascinating facts about Gansus is that it lived an aquatic lifestyle. It most likely floated on top of the water and used its webbed feet to propel itself forward. It also probably plunged its head down below the water line to hunt for fish. Much like a modern duck.
Some paleontologists believe that Gansus was one of the earliest ornithurans (birds). If it’s one of the earliest birds, then that could have huge implications for the entire field. That because it would have proved a theory that all birds developed from an aquatic environment; a hypothesis that many scientists reject outright. No one will know for sure until further evidence is gathered and analyzed.