A piece of ancient amber mined in Myanmar brought an unusual find to the scientific community. Amber often becomes a "time capsule", preserving the traces and even bodies of prehistoric insects, but almost never - vertebrates, in part because of the size of the latter. The more interesting is the specimen, in which there was a whole head of a dinosaur - moreover, the smallest of all ever discovered.
The discovery was studied by an international team led by Lars Schmitz, assistant professor of biology at Scripps College (USA). Scientists have found that the dinosaur got into amber about 99 million years ago. Only his head was in the stone, and after modeling, paleontologists came to the conclusion that the size of the dinosaur did not exceed a modern hummingbird. That is, it was 5-6 cm in length with a weight of less than 2 grams, but at the same time it was flying.
The new species was named Oculudentavis khaungraae and studied using high-resolution synchrotron scans to avoid destroying the amber shell. The dinosaur's tiny mouth was full of small, sharp teeth - it was an active and aggressive predator. He had eyes and, probably, led a diurnal lifestyle, and therefore could feed not only on insects, but also on the ancestors of birds.
CT scan of the skull
Now, with the discovery of Oculudentavis khaungraae, scientists are ready to rethink the origin, evolution and history of birds and vertebrates in general. Who knows how small creatures lived on the planet at that time?