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Mummified precocial bird wings in mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber

Published on Nov 1, 2016in Nature Communications 12.35
· DOI :10.1038/ncomms12089
Lida Xing18
Estimated H-index: 18
(China University of Geosciences),
Ryan C. McKellar5
Estimated H-index: 5
(University of Regina)
+ 10 AuthorsXing Xu41
Estimated H-index: 41
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Abstract
Our knowledge of Cretaceous plumage is limited by the fossil record itself: compression fossils surrounding skeletons lack the finest morphological details and seldom preserve visible traces of colour, while discoveries in amber have been disassociated from their source animals. Here we report the osteology, plumage and pterylosis of two exceptionally preserved theropod wings from Burmese amber, with vestiges of soft tissues. The extremely small size and osteological development of the wings, combined with their digit proportions, strongly suggests that the remains represent precocial hatchlings of enantiornithine birds. These specimens demonstrate that the plumage types associated with modern birds were present within single individuals of Enantiornithes by the Cenomanian (99 million years ago), providing insights into plumage arrangement and microstructure alongside immature skeletal remains. This finding brings new detail to our understanding of infrequently preserved juveniles, including the first concrete examples of follicles, feather tracts and apteria in Cretaceous avialans.
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  • References (34)
  • Citations (23)
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References34
Newest
Published on Dec 1, 2015in Scientific Reports 4.12
Guillermo Navalón2
Estimated H-index: 2
(UoB: University of Bristol),
Jesús Marugán-Lobón2
Estimated H-index: 2
(UoB: University of Bristol)
+ 2 AuthorsAngela D. Buscalioni24
Estimated H-index: 24
(UAM: Autonomous University of Madrid)
Despite a wealth of fossils of Mesozoic birds revealing evidence of plumage and other soft-tissue structures, the epidermal and dermal anatomy of their wing’s patagia remain largely unknown. We describe a distal forelimb of an enantiornithine bird from the Lower Cretaceous limestones of Las Hoyas, Spain, which reveals the overall morphology of the integument of the wing and other connective structures associated with the insertion of flight feathers. The integumentary anatomy, and myological and...
16 Citations Source Cite
Published on Nov 1, 2015in Nature Communications 12.35
Min Wang11
Estimated H-index: 11
,
Xiaoting Zheng15
Estimated H-index: 15
+ 5 AuthorsZHOUZhonghe47
Estimated H-index: 47
The origin and diversification of early birds remain unclear. Here, the authors report fossils from the oldest known ornithuromorph bird, recovered from the Huajiying Formation in China, which pushes the divergence of these and other early bird lineages back to the Jurassic–Cretaceous transition.
36 Citations Source Cite
Published on Nov 1, 2015in Nature Communications 12.35
Ismar de Souza Carvalho20
Estimated H-index: 20
(UFRJ: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro),
Fernando E. Novas29
Estimated H-index: 29
+ 3 AuthorsJosé A. Andrade3
Estimated H-index: 3
The fossil record of birds in the Mesozoic of Gondwana is mostly based on isolated and often poorly preserved specimens, none of which has preserved details on feather anatomy. We provide the description of a fossil bird represented by a skeleton with feathers from the Early Cretaceous of Gondwana (NE Brazil). The specimen sheds light on the homology and 3D structure of the rachis-dominated feathers, previously known from two-dimensional slabs. The rectrices exhibit a row of rounded spots, proba...
31 Citations Source Cite
Published on May 1, 2015in Scientific Reports 4.12
Daniel B. Thomas11
Estimated H-index: 11
,
Paul C. Nascimbene13
Estimated H-index: 13
+ 2 AuthorsHelen F. James28
Estimated H-index: 28
Animal colours can be richly informative about aspects of behaviour such as foraging ecology and mate preference. Birds in particular display many striking hues and complex patterns of pigmentation. Examples of plumage adaptations include brightly coloured feathers for enticing potential mates, as well as cryptic patterns that allow a bird to hide in plain sight1,2,3. By analogy with modern birds, the behaviours and habitats of ancient birds and other feathered dinosaurs may be inferred from pig...
14 Citations Source Cite
Published on May 1, 2015in Nature 41.58
Xing Xu41
Estimated H-index: 41
,
Xiaoting Zheng15
Estimated H-index: 15
+ 7 AuthorsYanhong Pan13
Estimated H-index: 13
A recently discovered fossil belonging to the Scansoriopterygidae, a group of bizarre dinosaurs closely related to birds, represents a new scansoriopterygid species and preserves evidence of a membranous aerodynamic surface very different from a classic avian wing.
55 Citations Source Cite
Published on Feb 11, 2015
Teresa J. Feo8
Estimated H-index: 8
(Yale University),
Daniel J. Field13
Estimated H-index: 13
(Yale University),
Richard O. Prum46
Estimated H-index: 46
(Yale University)
The geometry of feather barbs (barb length and barb angle) determines feather vane asymmetry and vane rigidity, which are both critical to a feather's aerodynamic performance. Here, we describe the relationship between barb geometry and aerodynamic function across the evolutionary history of asymmetrical flight feathers, from Mesozoic taxa outside of modern avian diversity (Microraptor, Archaeopteryx, Sapeornis, Confuciusornis and the enantiornithine Eopengornis) to an extensive sample of modern...
33 Citations Source Cite
Published on Apr 7, 2014in PLOS ONE 2.77
Robert L. Nudds20
Estimated H-index: 20
Recently it was proposed that the primary feathers of Archaeopteryx lithographica (HMN1880) were overlaid by long covert feathers, and that a multilayered feathered wing was a feature of early fossils with feathered forelimbs. The proposed long covert feathers of Archaeopteryx were previously interpreted as dorsally displaced remiges or a second set of impressions made by the wing. The following study shows that the qualitative arguments forwarded in support of the elongated covert hypothesis ar...
5 Citations Source Cite
Published on Jan 1, 2014
Wang Min(王敏)2
Estimated H-index: 2
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Zhou Zhonghe(周忠和)3
Estimated H-index: 3
+ 1 AuthorsZelenkov Nikita1
Estimated H-index: 1
Two new enantiornithine birds,Parabohaiornis martini gen. et sp. nov.,and Longusunguis kurochkini gen. et sp. nov.,are reported here based on three nearly complete skeletons from the Lower Cretaceous lacustrine deposits of the Jiufotang Formation in Liaoning,northeastern China. The two new species share several unique features with Bohaiornis,Shenqiornis,Sulcavis and Zhouornis,including a robust rostrum with robust,subconical teeth,furcula with blunt omal expansions,sternal trabeculae caudolater...
37 Citations
Published on Jun 1, 2013in Current Biology 9.25
Xing(徐星) Xu2
Estimated H-index: 2
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Susan Mackem24
Estimated H-index: 24
It is widely accepted that birds are a subgroup of dinosaurs, but there is an apparent conflict: modern birds have been thought to possess only the middle three fingers (digits II-III-IV) of an idealized five-digit tetrapod hand based on embryological data, but their Mesozoic tetanuran dinosaur ancestors are considered to have the first three digits (I-II-III) based on fossil evidence. How could such an evolutionary quirk arise? Various hypotheses have been proposed to resolve this paradox. Addi...
13 Citations Source Cite
Published on Dec 1, 2012in Current Biology 9.25
Nicholas R. Longrich20
Estimated H-index: 20
(Yale University),
Jakob Vinther27
Estimated H-index: 27
(UoB: University of Bristol)
+ 2 AuthorsAnthony P. Russell37
Estimated H-index: 37
(U of C: University of Calgary)
Summary In modern birds (Neornithes), the wing is composed of a layer of long, asymmetrical flight feathers overlain by short covert feathers [1–3]. It has generally been assumed that wing feathers in the Jurassic bird Archaeopteryx [4–9] and Cretaceous feathered dinosaurs [10, 11] had the same arrangement. Here, we redescribe the wings of the archaic bird Archaeopteryx lithographica [3–5] and the dinosaur Anchiornis huxleyi [12, 13] and show that their wings differ from those of Neornithes in b...
34 Citations Source Cite
Cited By23
Newest
Published on Jan 30, 2019in Scientific Reports 4.12
Lida Xing18
Estimated H-index: 18
(China University of Geosciences),
Ryan C. McKellar12
Estimated H-index: 12
(KU: University of Kansas)
+ 3 AuthorsLuis M. Chiappe45
Estimated H-index: 45
(Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County)
Over the last three years, Burmese amber (~99 Ma, from Myanmar) has provided a series of immature enantiornithine skeletal remains preserved in varying developmental stages and degrees of completeness. These specimens have improved our knowledge based on compression fossils in Cretaceous sedimentary rocks, adding details of three-dimensional structure and soft tissues that are rarely preserved elsewhere. Here we describe a remarkably well-preserved foot, accompanied by part of the wing plumage. ...
Source Cite
Published on Mar 21, 2019in Scientific Reports 4.12
Thomas G. Kaye9
Estimated H-index: 9
(AmeriCorps VISTA),
Michael Pittman9
Estimated H-index: 9
(HKU: University of Hong Kong)
+ 3 AuthorsAngela D. Buscalioni24
Estimated H-index: 24
(UAM: Autonomous University of Madrid)
Laser-Stimulated Fluorescence (LSF) is used to identify fully fledged feathering in the hatchling enantiornithine bird specimen MPCM-LH-26189, supporting precocial nesting behavior in this extinct group. The LSF results include the detection of a long pennaceous wing feather as well as cover feathers around the body. The LSF technique showed improved detection limits over and above synchrotron and UV imaging which had both been performed on this specimen. The findings underscore the value of usi...
Source Cite
Published on Feb 18, 2019in Optics Express 3.36
Jia Qian4
Estimated H-index: 4
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Shipei Dang1
Estimated H-index: 1
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
+ 10 AuthorsYandong Chen1
Estimated H-index: 1
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
High-resolution 3D imaging technology has found a number of applications in many biological fields. However, the existing 3D imaging tools are often too time-consuming to use on large-scale specimens, such as centimeter-sized insects. In addition, most 3D imaging systems discard the natural color information of the specimens. To surmount these limitations, we present a structured illumination-based approach capable of delivering large field-of-view three-dimensional images. With this approach, 5...
1 Citations Source Cite
Published on Feb 16, 2019in Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 2.33
Ekaterina A. Sidorchuk9
Estimated H-index: 9
(RAS: Russian Academy of Sciences),
Andre V. Bochkov14
Estimated H-index: 14
+ 1 AuthorsO. F. Chernova5
Estimated H-index: 5
(RAS: Russian Academy of Sciences)
Tetrapods are rarely recovered from fossil resins, such as amber, and fossils of parasites are even rarer. We describe the first pre-Quaternary co-occurrence of ectoparasitic mites with hairs of their mammalian hosts, preserved in life-like detail from a piece of Eocene (∼ 40 Ma) Baltic amber. The mites, representing the oldest fossils of the family Myobiidae (Acari: Prostigmata: Eleutherengona), are described as Protohylomysobia erinaceophilus Sidorchuk & Bochkov gen. et sp. nov. and belong to ...
2 Citations Source Cite
Published on Feb 16, 2019in Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 2.33
Sha Li3
Estimated H-index: 3
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Yuanyuan Lu3
Estimated H-index: 3
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
+ 3 AuthorsMing Bai15
Estimated H-index: 15
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
A new subfamily of Scarabaeidae, †Electrorubesopsinae Bai & Wang subfam. nov., is described from Cretaceous amber of Myanmar (earliest Cenomanian, ∼100 Ma) as the possible sister group of Dynamopodinae. †Electrorubesopsis beuteli Bai & Wang gen. et sp. nov. is the first species of this subfamily, which has probably been long extinct. Its external morphology was analysed and compared with all known genera of Dynamopodinae. A phylogenetic analysis based on 82 morphological characters suggests its ...
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Published on Jan 1, 2019in Cretaceous Research 1.93
Lida Xing18
Estimated H-index: 18
(China University of Geosciences),
Andrew J. Ross17
Estimated H-index: 17
(National Museum of Scotland)
+ 2 AuthorsRyan C. McKellar5
Estimated H-index: 5
(University of Regina)
Abstract Gastropods are generally rare in amber. In this paper we describe an example of exceptional soft-bodied preservation in a fossil terrestrial mollusk-a snail shell with some tissue, including part of the cephalic region (head) with a tentacle and inferred eye stalk, and potentially part of the foot and operculum. The snail, a probable juvenile, is preserved in Burmese amber (Burmite) from Myanmar, of earliest Cenomanian age. Morphological evidence suggests a cyclophoroidean ancestry and ...
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Published on Dec 1, 2018in Scientific Reports 4.12
Lida Xing18
Estimated H-index: 18
(China University of Geosciences),
Benjamin Sames9
Estimated H-index: 9
(University of Vienna)
+ 3 AuthorsWANXiaoqiao14
Estimated H-index: 14
(China University of Geosciences)
The mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber (~99 Ma, Myanmar), widely known for exquisite preservation of theropods, also yields microfossils, which can provide important contextual information on paleoenvironment and amber formation. We report the first Cretaceous ostracod in amber—the gigantic (12.9 mm) right valve of an exclusively marine group (Myodocopa: Myodocopida) preserved in Burmese amber. Ostracods are usually small (0.5–2 mm), with well-calcified carapaces that provide an excellent fossil recor...
6 Citations Source Cite