12 March 2020
Hummingbird-sized dinosaur skull found preserved in amber

Hummingbird-sized dinosaur skull found preserved in amber

Nature Video / YouTube

In Myanmar, scientists have found the remains of the smallest known dinosaur. Presumably, the discovered skull belonged to an adult animal. Description of the discovery is given in the Nature journal dated March, 11.

The dinosaur received the name Oculudentavis khaungraae (big-eyed and toothy bird) due to large eye sockets, prominent teeth. Outwardly, it resembles a hummingbird. Scientists suggest that Oculudentavis preyed on small invertebrates, including flying insects. Moreover, unlike many predators, it did not have binocular vision, since its eyes were located on the sides of the skull.

The find was discovered by employees of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, headed by Jingmai O’Connor in samples of Burmese amber. The find is 99 million years old.

The researchers subjected the sample to computer tomography, so they determined the size and structure of the animal and concluded that it was a dinosaur. The length of the skull of the specie was only 7.1 millimeters, and the length of the head with a beak did not reach even two centimeters.

According to scientists, Oculudentavis is the smallest known dinosaur.

Amber from Myanmar is a rich source of unique paleontological finds. In October 2018, scientists of the China University of Geosciences found a snail about 99 million years old in a piece of Burmese amber. These are the first remains of a snail with well-preserved soft tissues. Usually, only solid parts remain in amber: carapaces and shells. In 2016, in one of the remains of amber from Myanmar, a dinosaur tail covered with feathers was found.