The fossil remains of an old 99 million-year-old bird with a freakish long-ear have been discovered in a piece of amber from Burma .
Researchers found that the third figure in the sparse creature's foot was 9.8 millimeters long, about 41
Palaeontologists are uncertain as to what purpose the extra-long toe served, but it may have helped the wartime bird find food in hard-to-reach places such as tree holes. The bird may have been a tree farmer, using his extended claw to grab branches.
The photography was so unique that a team that investigated the fossils, led by the paleontologist Lida Xing from China's life sciences university in Beijing, decided to declare a new species that calls the bird Elektorornis (amber bird) chenguangi. Their results were published in today's biology on Thursday.
The New York Times reported that the remains had remained undisturbed in hardened wood resin until yellow miners found the fossils in Burma's Hukawng Valley in 2014.
It was first presented to Chen Guang, a curator of China's Hupoge Amber Museum, and originally suspected of be an extinct lizard.
But Chen decided to consult Xing who specializes in creeping bird birds and the little creature was discovered to be related to an extinct group of toothed, lamentable birds called Enantiornithes, abundant during the 145.5 million to 66 chalk period. million years ago.
"I was very surprised at the time," Dr. Xing told the times and recalled that the fossils were "undoubtedly a bird's claw."
Dr. Xing's law the herb toe size ratios with other known bears starting from the Mesozoic era, which began 252 million years ago, and found that no other species had such a dramatic difference in toe sizes.
Elektorornis chenguangi died with other species in his family along with non-avian dinosaurs at the end of the chalk.