August 16, 2017
Do you remember the scene in Jurassic Park where miners are excavating amber from a mine? A miner calls over the head of the search party and tells him there is a find. He goes into the mine where he is handed a piece of amber. He holds the hardened tree sap up to the light and finds a mosquito frozen in time from the age of the dinosaurs.
Now, back to real-life, instead of the miner coming across a mosquito locked in amber, imagine him finding the preserved remains of a baby bird that is nearly 100 million years old; that’s exactly what happened!
Mined in the Hukawng Valley in northern Myanmar, this is by far the most complete fossil ever found locked in amber. From CT scans, scientists are able to see that this bird belonged to an ancient group of toothed birds called Enantiornithes. This species of bird went extinct with the dinosaurs millions of years ago.
On further inspection, researchers were able to see the white, brown and dark grey details in the feathers. Researches are even able to see the bird’s molting pattern and determine that the bird recently hatched. It was only in its first days of life, at most weeks, when it was caught in the tree sap.
Scientists will be able to learn so much about the early stages of the Enantiornithes from this well preserved specimen.
To learn more about the 99-million-year-old hatching, please visit, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/06/baby-bird-dinosaur-burmese-amber-fossil/.