Researchers in Myanmar have found a 99 million year old bird encased in amber – but don’t expect the discovery to be the beginnings of a Jurassic Park-style resort.
Scientists from China’s University of Geoscience mined the three-inch specimen – the most complete ever found from the Cretaceous period – in the Hukawng Valley in the north of the country.
The study, published in the journal Gondwana Research, reads: “The new specimen brings a new level of detail to our understanding of the anatomy of the juvenile stages of the most species-rich clade of pre-modern birds.”
From the bird’s plumage, the team was able to determine that the hatchling belonged to a species named ‘enantiornithines’ which died out at the time of the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.
Sadly, rather than being used as source material for a dinosaur theme park, the fossilised specimen has instead been sold to the Hupoge Amber Museum in Tengchong City, China.
Of the specimen, just the skull, neck, one wing and a hind limb are preserved in the amber – enough, researchers say, to better their understanding of toothed birds and how they compare to birds in the present day.
video: courtesy USA Today