This ancient bird sported a ginormous toe

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email Zhongda Zhang/Current Biology Imagine having a toe as long as your shin. That’s essentially what researchers have found in a bird foot trapped in amber for nearly 100 million years. The appendage features an extremely long third toe never before seen in birds.Amber dealers suspected the fossil foot, originally found in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar in 2014, belonged to a lizard, which are known for their long toes. But lizards have five toes, suggesting the sample belonged to a bird instead.In the new study, researchers used detailed x-ray scans to create a 3D model of the foot. They then compared it with the feet of more than 80 modern and ancient birds. The fossil’s third toe, which measures nearly 10 millimeters, is 20% longer than its lower leg and more than 40% longer than its second toe, the team reports today in Current Biology. No other bird—living or extinct—sports such an appendage. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) This ancient bird sported a ginormous toe By Sabine GalvisJul. 11, 2019 , 11:00 AM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country It’s unclear what the bird—which the researchers have christened Elektorornis chenguangi (seen in this artist’s conception)—used the toe for. (Elektorornis means “amber bird,” and the second half of the name is a nod to the discoverer of the fossil, Chen Guang.) Lengthy toes are a common feature of tree-dwelling animals like squirrels and monkeys because they improve branch grip. Researchers speculate that the unusual adaptation may have been used to dig food out of tree trunks. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t a feature that caught on. Elektorornis vanished with the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, leaving no modern descendants.last_img