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Last Updated: Wednesday October 14 2009 07:02 GMT

Dinosaur 'missing link' revealed

Dinosaur bones

Scientists have discovered a new type of flying reptile which they believe could explain a missing link in the development of the creatures.

More than 20 fossil skeletons of a reptile called the Darwinopterus have been discovered in north-east China in rocks around 160 million years old.

The reptiles, which were about the size of crows, had long jaws, rows of sharp-pointed teeth and flexible necks.

Experts think it was a bit like a hawk and snacked on other flying creatures.

It's prey is thought to have included tiny gliding mammals and small pigeon-sized, meat-eating dinosaurs.

Feathered reptiles

These tiny creatures had feathered arms and legs, had recently started flying and eventually evolved into birds.