Fossil of 99 million-year-old bird with giant toe discovered in Asia

Last updated at 08:56
Fossil bird in amber.Lida Xing/PA
It's thought that the bird lived around 99 million-years-ago

It's thought that the bird, which was found fossilised in amber used its toe to hook food from trees.

Researchers in China say that the bird's long toe was nearly twice as long as the other toes. They believe the bird may have used the toe to find food holes in difficult to reach places like holes in trees.

The team from the China University of Biosciences say that the bird is a newly discovered species, which lived 99 million-years-ago. It is thought that the bird was probably the size of a sparrow and might have spent most of its time in trees rather than in water or on the ground.

Artist impression of Elektorornis chenguangi birdZhongda Zhang
Scientists think that the bird used its toe to get food from hard-to-reach places like holes in trees

They compared the bird with other species from the same time period and found that the dramatic difference in toe size and formation of the foot was unique.

They decided to declare the bird a new species and named it Elektorornis chenguangi, which means 'amber bird' in Greek.

The bird was found in the Asian country of Myanmar in 2014 and was originally thought by local traders to be a lizard. The discovery was passed to Lida Xing, an expert in animals from the dinosaur era.

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