99 Million-Year-Old Fossil Of A Bird With A Strange Feature Was Discovered

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Researchers have found something pretty peculiar. The fossilized remains of an ancient 99-million-year-old bird which had a really long toe have been discovered in a chunk of amber in Burma.

Researchers have found the third digit of the creature that looked like a sparrow and the digit was 9.8 mm long which is 41% longer than its second-longest digit and 10% longer than the creature’s entire leg, according to the latest data coming from Science News.

The purpose of such a toe is not 100% clear 

Experts are not sure yet what was the purpose of the extra-long toe, but it seems that it could have helped the bird from the cretaceous period to find food in hard-to-reach places such as holes in the trees.

The reports claim that the bird could have been a tree-dweller and it used its extended claw to grasp on the branches.

The formation of the foot was o unique that the team which was examining the fossil, led by paleontologist Lida Xing from the China University of Biosciences in Beijing, declared a new species – Elektorornis (amber bird) chenguangi.

Their results and discoveries were published in Current Biology on Thursday.

The remains were found in hardened tree resin 

According to data coming from NYT, the remains stood there undisturbed in hardened tree resin until amber miners found the fossil in Burma’s Hukawng Valley back in 2014.

This was first presented to Chen Guang, a curator at China’s Hupoge Amber Museum.

“I was very surprised at the time,” Dr. Xing told NYT, recalling that the fossil was “undoubtedly the claw of a bird.”

It’s also extremely interesting to note that Xing’s team compared the toe size ratios with other known birds starting from the Mesozoic era, which began 252 million years ago.

The researchers have discovered that no other species had such a huge difference in toe sizes.

Rada Mateescu

I have been blogging and posting articles for over eight years, but my passion for writing dates back in 2000. I am especially enthusiastic about technology, science, and health-related issues. When I’m not researching and writing the latest news, I’m either watching sci-fi and horror movies or checking out places worth visiting and building deep memories for later in life. I believe in empathy and continually improving myself.