Prehistoric Baby Bird Found Incredibly Well-Preserved In Amber

Published June 9, 2017
Updated April 13, 2018

A baby bird from the Cretaceous period has been preserved for tens of millions of years.

Rendering Of Baby Bird Found In Amber

A rendering of the bird.

While we may not have the technology to time travel just yet, some natural substances have the ability to transport us millions of years into the past.

That is the case with a sample of amber that scientists recently discovered in Burma. In the amber, which scientists believe to be 99 million years old, the researchers discovered the fossil of a bird which was believed to have gone extinct approximately 65 million years ago.

This wasn’t just any fossil, though; according to the paper the scientists published in Gondwana Research, it is the “most complete” fossil of a baby bird to be recovered from the Cretaceous period.

The fossil of the bird, a kind of enantiornithean, had feathers, claws, skin, and tissue around the eyelid, and the researchers hope that the fossil can provide more detail on this prehistoric bird.

“The plumage preserves an unusual combination of [developed] and [undeveloped] features unlike any living hatchling bird,” the authors wrote in the paper.

According to the researchers, the bird likely died quite young by falling into sap, which over time became the amber they uncovered nearly 100 million years later in Burma.

A few CT scans and X-rays later, researchers at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum of Canada discovered that the fossil’s wings had feathers similar to modern birds. Unlike modern birds, according to paleontologist Ryan McKellar, the fossil’s tail and legs were covered in “dino fuzz.”

Next, see what the very first animal on Earth was.

All That's Interesting
Established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together a dedicated staff of digital publishing veterans and subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science. From the lesser-known byways of human history to the uncharted corners of the world, we seek out stories that bring our past, present, and future to life. Privately-owned since its founding, All That's Interesting maintains a commitment to unbiased reporting while taking great care in fact-checking and research to ensure that we meet the highest standards of accuracy.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.