Crop found in Chinese early bird

The presence of a crop in two Early Cretaceous birds points to an essentially modern digestive system that formed early in avian evolution.

In modern birds the crop provides storage, allowing a number of seeds to be gathered quickly and processed later. It also softens hard seeds so they can be more easily ground by the gizzard.

The discovery of a crop in two unrelated lineages of Early Cretaceous birds suggests that it was independently acquired as a specialised adaptation.

Read more at Chinese Academy of Sciences