99 million yo toothed bird found near-perfectly preserved in amber

99 million yo toothed bird found near-perfectly preserved in amber

The surviving 6-centimeter specimen is the most complete fossil ever discovered in amber from the region.

We've found bugs, poisonous flowers and even feathery dinosaur bits trapped in prehistoric amber, but now scientists say they have a almost complete baby bird in the stuff.

They had major differences from today's birds, and their shoulders and feet had grown quite differently to those of modern birds.

'Seeing something this complete is unbelievable.

The amber encases the bird's skull, neck, a partial wing, a hind limb and one foot.

Their newest specimen belongs to a group of birds that went extinct 65 million years ago.

While it looks as if the actual skin and flesh of the bird are preserved in the amber, the amber shows a very detailed impression of the animal. While the fossilized bird had a full set of flight feathers, its remaining plumage was limited and resembled the feathers of theropod dinosaurs.

As CNET reports, the baby enantiornithine bird is the closest scientists have come to finding a fully intact fossil in Burmese amber.

Researchers were even able to pin-point the bird's actions when it died.

They probably hatched on the ground and climbed into trees, says McKellar, making them particularly likely to get stuck in sap.

They then split into two distinct groups: the lineage that led to modern birds, called the ornithuromorphs, and the opposite birds, or enantiornithines - of which this bird belongs.

This means they had a socket-and-ball joint in their shoulders where modern birds have a ball-and-socket joint.

Xing Lida, from the China University of Geosciences, led an global team of researchers in analyzing the three-inch specimen. "The overall posture of the bird resembled hunting, with its lifted body, open claws and beak and spread wings".

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