This ancient bird sported a ginormous toe

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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.

Publisher: Science | AAAS
Date: 2019-07-09T17:19:10-04:00
Author: Sabine Galvis
Twitter: @newsfromscience
Reference: Visit Source

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Why Did This Extinct Bird Have Such a Weird, Long Toe?

The preserved toe measures less than half an inch from knuckle to claw-tip, making it 41 percent longer than the next longest digit on the animal’s foot. When traders showed the curious specimen to Chen Guang, a curator at China’s Hupoge Amber Museum, they suggested that it probably belonged to an extinct lizard.

Mr. Chen thought that the remains looked more like an avian species, so he looped in Lida Xing, a paleontologist at China University of Geosciences who specializes in Cretaceous birds.

‘I was very surprised at the time,’ Dr. Xing said, recalling that the fossil was ‘undoubtedly the claw of a bird.’

Date: 2019-07-11T15:14:13.598Z
Reference: Visit Source

Bird With Toes Longer Than Its Lower Legs Discovered in 99 Million-year

Scientists who studied bones trapped in amber for millennia say they have discovered a bird which lived 99 million years ago that had toes longer than its lower legs.

The bird’s foot, including a third toe measuring 9.8 millimeters, was found in amber in the Angbamo area of the Hukawng Valley of northern Myanmar in 2014, and dates back to the middle Cretaceous period.

These origins lead the team to name the bird, which is smaller than the average modern-day sparrow, as Elektorornis chenguangi, or “amber bird.”

The Elektorornis chenguangi is a member of the Enantiornithes family of birds. Wiped out in the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event around 66 million years ago, they were the most common birds of the Mesozoic era.

Publisher: Newsweek
Date: 2019-07-11T11:00:01-04:00
Twitter: @newsweek
Reference: Visit Source

Fossil of 99m-year-old bird with unusually long toes found

‘We have the leg of a little 99-million-year-old bird, preserved in amber, that shows a foot morphology unlike any known previously,’ said Jingmai O’Connor, a vertebrate palaeontologist and co-author of the study at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The foot was so distinctive that O’Connor and her team declared the bird, which was probably about the size of a sparrow, a new species, naming it Elektorornis chenguangi. The first part of the name translates to ‘amber bird’. It is the first bird species to be recognised from amber.

Scientists compared the bird to the only other known species that has such disproportionately long digits: the aye-aye, a type of lemur which uses its elongated fingers to pry larvae and insects out of tree trunks. The researchers believe that Elektorornis might have used its toes for similar purposes.

Publisher: the Guardian
Date: 2019-07-11T15:00:59.000Z
Author: Nur Pirbhai
Twitter: @guardian
Reference: Visit Source

South America’s Dramatic Landscapes and Wildlife Are Best Seen on a Cruise

I first fell in love with the sea through stories, holidays, and poetry. ‘I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky,’ wrote the English poet laureate John Masefield. ‘And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by…’ The lines caught my imagination when I was younger. I could not have explained it, but the ‘wild call…that will not be denied’ of Masefield’s classic poem ‘Sea Fever’ stirred a great longing in me.

For many people, real travel begins with a ship. My fascination with the rough romance, mystery, and endless mutability of the sea began with family vacations involving a ferry trip. Many voyages later, it has only grown. In my opinion, the great age of air travel, when the journey itself was a huge part of the pleasure, is still alive at sea. There remain sweeps of this planet that only ships can get to: stretches of coasts separated from the rest of the land by mountains and volcanoes. I knew nothing about these ports beyond brushing encounters with their names in maritime histories; places visited by Magellan and Drake, and any range of European sailors, when it wasn’t possible to enter the Pacific without rounding Cape Horn or crossing the straits of Tierra del Fuego.

Publisher: Cond’ Nast Traveler
Author: Horatio Clare
Twitter: @CNTraveler
Reference: Visit Source

Greetings Earthlings: There is no spoon or AI. The data presented above may one day be zapped to another dimension. Just thought you should be aware. It should be alright to step abroad. It is safe.