You know, ancient insects were not the only things trapped in amber back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. In fact just this year we found bird wings, dinosaur feathers and now this…a nearly intact baby bird from around 100 million years ago, in fact, the most complete prehistoric bird we have ever found.
Scientists found the amber in Myanmar and inside you can see bird’s head, tail, neck and especially the wings and feet. It’s really incredible because the tree resin perfectly preserved even the feathers, flesh and claws.
“It’s the most complete and detailed view we’ve ever had,” one of the team members behind the discovery, Ryan McKellar from the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada, told New Scientist. “Seeing something this complete is amazing. It’s just stunning.” He said.
This bird belonged to a group known as enantiornithes or opposite birds, which went extinct about 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period along with the dinosaurs.
These birds appear to look like birds of today but according to New Scientist, they had a socket-and-ball joint in their shoulders where modern birds have a ball-and-socket joint – hence the name. They also had claws on their wings, and jaws and teeth rather than beaks.
It is still a mystery why these birds died off while other ancestors of modern birds did not. Researchers think this might have something to do with the fact that these birds’ were lousy parents and often just left the babies to fend for themselves. Also, researchers believed that these birds were actually hatched on the ground and then climbed up into the trees, which might explain why these birds were so easily stuck in tree sap.
The amber was Mined in the Hukawng Valley in northern Myanmar. Amber found in this region contain some of the largest variety of life from the Cretaceous period which was from 145 to 65 million years ago.
And if you are already thinking a Jurassic Park scenario in your head, you’re probably not alone. Unfortunately, there really is not much DNA left, as the flesh has already turned into unusable carbon.