One of the earliest baby birds has been found in northeast China. The fossil, estimated at 121 MILLION years old, is curled up as though still in its shell. The tiny bird had a large skull, feathers and a hardened skeleton, indications that it was near maturity even though it had not yet hatched. Birds like this one that develop feathers and can feed on their own by the time they hatch are known as precocious, in contrast to others that hatch naked and helpless. The bird was found in a layer of shale in Liaoning province by Zhonghe Zhou and Fucheng Zhang of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.