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Photos: Mummified Bird Wings Preserved in Amber

Stuck wing

Mummified Bird Wings

(Image credit: Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM | R.C. McKellar))

Sticky tree resin captured the wings of two birds 99 million years ago in what is now Myanmar. Most feather fossils are in 2D specimens captured in sedimentary rock, so these findings are extraordinary, showing scientists the structure and color of ancient features during the Cretaceous age. [Read the Full Story on the Mummified Bird Feathers]

Sticky trap

Mummified Bird Wings

(Image credit: Chung-tat Cheung)

An ancient, hummingbird-size bird got its wing stuck in sticky tree resin and likely struggled for its life about 99 million years ago. Researchers nicknamed this specimen "Angel Wing."

Elephant transportation

Mummified Bird Wings

(Image credit: Mo Li)

In Myanmar, some locals use elephants for transportation, including for moving amber.

Amber mine

Mummified Bird Wings

(Image credit: Mo Li)

A young man goes into an amber mine in Myanmar.

Mummified wing

Mummified Bird Wings

(Image credit: Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM | R.C. McKellar))

The other bird wing, nicknamed "Rose" by scientists, can be seen here encased in amber. It's possible that Rose was a severed limb that was torn off by a predator before that animal got stuck in amber. Or perhaps the wing floated free from the rest of the corpse due to resin flows, the researchers said. [Read the Full Story on the Mummified Bird Feathers]

CT scan

Mummified Bird Wings

(Image credit: Lida Xing)

The researchers were able to merge data about the bone and soft tissue together in this digital reconstruction.

Magnified wing

Mummified Bird Wings

(Image credit: Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM | R.C. McKellar))

A close-up of Rose's wing shows the claw and a pale spot on the plumage.

Ancient feather

Mummified Bird Wings

(Image credit: Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM | R.C. McKellar))

A magnified look at Rose's feathers shows where the feathers insert into the bird's skin.

Downy feathers

Mummified Bird Wings

(Image credit: Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM | R.C. McKellar))

Rose's downy feathers are shown here inserting into the skin.

Wing feathers

Mummified Bird Wings

(Image credit: Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM | R.C. McKellar))

Rose's overlapping flight feathers are shown here. Amber polishing gave the researchers a clearer view of the specimen.[Read the Full Story on the Mummified Bird Feathers]

Two scientists

Mummified Bird Wings

(Image credit: Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM | R.C. McKellar))

Study researchers Lida Xing (right) and Ryan McKellar (left) hold amber samples from Myanmar (also know as Burma) from the study.