Bird That Lived Alongside Dinosaurs Found in Amber

The 99-million-year-old bird gives new info about their ties to dinosaurs.

June 9, 2017 9:42 am
Tree resin trapped this baby bird 99 million years ago. (Lida Xing)
Tree resin trapped this baby bird 99 million years ago. (Lida Xing)

A small bird is a big find for paleontologists.

The remains of a hatchling that dates back to the time of the dinosaurs was discovered fossilized in 99-million-year-old amber. It’s the best-preserved specimen of its kind, according to findings published Tuesday in the journal Gondwana Research.

Found in Myanmar, the Cretaceous-era bird was discovered with its head, one wing, both feet, and much of its skin and feathers intact. The fossil belongs to the enantiornithes, a group of birds that went extinct about 65 million years ago, according to National Geographic.

The bird belonged to an ancient group of toothed birds called Enantiornithes, which went extinct along with the dinosaurs. This reconstruction captures the hatchling’s pose as preserved in the amber. (Cheung Chung Tat)

Less than three inches long, the preserved hatchling was scanned by scientists than digitally reconstructed using 3D rendering software to get a better look. Smithsonian Magazine reports the bird’s feathers more closely resemble ones belonging to dinosaurs than modern day fowls.

Scientists have known that dinosaurs and birds co-existed but little was known about the latter creatures from that era. This find provides crucial details that could help scientists better understand the connection between the two.

Bones, skin and soft tissue are all encased in amber, providing scientists with unique information on an extinct group of ancient birds. (Ming Bai, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

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