Scientists find bird remains fossilized in 99-million-year-old amber

Scientists find bird remains fossilized in 99-million-year-old  amber
Posted at 3:31 PM, Jun 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-08 12:45:46-04

(RNN) - A team of scientists discovered the skeletal remains of an extinct bird inside a slab of 99-million-year-old amber while working in Myanmar between 2015 and 2016.

The group of scientists, led by Lida Xing and Ryan McKellar, were partly funded by National Geographic Society's Expeditions Council and published their findings on June 6 in Gondwana Research. The same team was responsible for the detailed photographs of a dinosaur tail preserved in amber, which were released last December.

Their newest specimen belongs to a group of birds that went extinct 65 million years ago. Preserved in the amber chunks, the scientists found skeletal material from the head, neck, feet and wings, as well as skin a feathers, from a hatchling.

"They were good fliers adapted to arboreal life, but died out with dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous," the researchers wrote. "The new specimen provides valuable insights unto how [they] developed and differed from [modern birds]."

The scientists said the bird was likely trapped in tree resin when still very young. The surviving 6-centimeter specimen is the most complete fossil ever discovered in amber from the region.

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