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    Rare Dinosaur-Era Birds' Wings Found Preserved in Amber

    © Flickr / Dan Bergstrom
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    Tiny wings, almost 100 million years old, remarkably similar to those on modern birds, have been found trapped in a piece of amber.

    The fossils, which are between two and three centimeters long, were discovered by scientists in Myanmar for the first time. The wings preserved traces of color and little sharp claws, which allowed their owners to climb trees. When the researchers analyzed the fossil, they found claw scratches, which could possibly mean that the creatures attempted to escape from the sticky sap.

    ​A study of the 99-million-years-old mummified wings, published in the Nature Communications, revealed they most likely belonged to baby enantiornithes, a group of avian dinosaurs that became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period.

    "The fact that the tiny birds were clambering about in the trees suggests that they had advanced development, meaning they were ready for action as soon as they hatched," explained the study's lead author Dr. Lida Xing from the China University of Geosciences, who made the discovery

    Co-author Prof. Mike Benton from the University of Bristol said: "The individual feathers show every filament and whisker, whether they are flight feathers or down feathers, and there are even traces of color — spots and stripes."

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    research, dinosaurs, birds, discovery, fossils, Myanmar
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