What organisms have been roaming on our planet about 99 million years ago or even in the years before that? Such questions have always been a source of curiosity for human minds and led to great researches and scientific studies. According to a team of international scientists, they have discovered a baby bird in amber. It’s a hatchling’s remains fossilized in the most perfect condition so far. Read on more about it.
What does this Baby Bird in Amber look like?
Baby bird in amber belongs to enantiornithes (toothed birds) species, that have been the companions of dinosaurs about 65 million years ago and got extinct with them. This small bird fossilized in amber is about 9 cm long. Not all but only a few parts are preserved. We can clearly see the neck, skull, hindlimb, wings and some part of the tail. The owner of this ancient discovery Chen Guang says, “Many people thought it was a lizard. But the scales, thread-like feathers and sharp claws on the feet were so noticeable that I thought they must belong to a bird,”
It is the remain of a hatchling that was just a few days old and fell into a puddle of tree sap and got preserved. The original paper (“A mid-Cretaceous enantiornithine (Aves) hatchling preserved in Burmese amber with unusual plumage,”) states;
“There were no obvious signs of struggle. The overall posture of the bird resembled hunting, with its lifted body, open claws and beak and spread wings,” said Tseng Kuowei with the University of Taipei. “It was possibly engulfed by falling resin at the exact moment it was hunting.”
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Ryan McKellar, the co-author of the paper and the official of Royal Saskatchewan Museum says, “It’s the most complete and detailed view we’ve ever had…” “Seeing something this complete is amazing. It’s just stunning.”
Can we Get some Amazing Info from its DNA?
Actually, no! according to Ryan, being encased through ages, has turned the small amber bird’s body into carbon. And there is nothing left to determine the DNA. It’s just a detailed impression of the hatchling.
Who is Belone?
Scientists have named this tiny bird in amber as ‘Belone’. It means Oriental skylark in Burmese language. The research work on this fossilized bird is not over yet. Belone is surely going to help in knowing more about the ancient tooth birds.