RIO – In fiction, an amber-entrapped insect contained DNA capable of bringing extinct dinosaurs to life in “Jurassic Park,” but in real life, fossilized resins from trees hold more than mosquitoes. A study published this week in the journal “Gondwana Research” revealed the most complete and well preserved prehistoric bird specimen ever found.
The piece of amber found in Myanmar contains the head, the neck, a wing, the tail and a paw of a bird’s nest. He was only a few days old when a resin puddle fell from a tree about a hundred million years ago.
“It’s the most complete and detailed we’ve ever had,” said Ryan McKellar of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada and co-author of the study in an interview with New Scientist. “Seeing something so complete is fantastic.
Apparently, the skin and flesh of the animal have been preserved, but McKellar explains that the tissues have already turned into carbon, so there is no chance of finding usable DNA. Some feather colors have been preserved, but the researcher admits they are not as exciting.
“They were brown.”
The bird belonged to a group of species known as Enantiornithes, or “opposed to birds” because of the shape of the bones of the feet being different from the modern birds. They lived with modern bird ancestors but disappeared about 66 million years ago.
Myanmar’s fossil analysis provides evidence that the offspring of these extinct birds were already born with feathers for flights, but without feathers on the tail and body. According to McKellar, it is likely that these animals were shocked on the ground, and climbed trees soon after birth.