99 Million Year Old Dinosaur Bird Wings Found Preserved in Amber

By: | July 9th, 2016

Royal Saskatchewan Museum/R.C. McKellar

In a rare discovery, palaeontologists found two 99 million-year-old baby dinosaur bird wings with feathers still attached. These wings were found trapped in amber in a tropical forest in Myanmar (Burma).

Most likely, the birds got stuck in a glob of tree sap, their feathers became entangled, and they eventually died, leaving pristine little wings mummified forever.

Amber also captured evidence of the bird’s wriggling and writhing in an effort to free itself. “There appear to be claw marks in the resin, which would suggest a struggle,” said co-lead study researcher Ryan McKellar.

McKellar, curator of invertebrate paleontology at Canada’s Royal Saskatchewan Museum said, “It gives us all the details we could hope for. It’s the next best thing to having the animal in your hand.”

A study on these mummified wings indicated that they probably belonged to enantiornithines, a group of avian dinosaurs that became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period. The mummified wings are so well-preserved that the researchers were able to do detailed research.

An illustration of a Enantiornithine partially ensnared by tree resin, based on one of the specimens discovered. (Chung-tat Cheung)

An illustration of an Enantiornithine partially ensnared by tree resin, based on one of the specimens discovered. (Chung-tat Cheung)

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. You can also find Nidhi on Google+.

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