There’s a fantastic fossil skull that was preserved in a drop of amber. Apparently, it is not from a tiny flying dinosaur, but the remains might be from an ancient lizard.
According to some reports, this new species, which is called Oculudentavis (which means eye tooth bird), was believed to be only a few inches long, which makes it the smallest dinosaur ever to be found. However, the discovery of a similar fossil has raised some questions about the bird-like dinosaur.
According to the researchers, “Although the description of Oculudentavis khaungraae remains accurate, a new unpublished specimen casts doubts upon our hypothesis.”
Both snakes and lizards are a very different group of reptiles in comparison with dinosaurs. Both of them have evolved from amphibians more than 300 million years ago, and then they diverged from each other. And even if some lizards look like dinosaurs, the closest member of a family of a dinosaur that’s living today is the bird. Birds evolved from them directly.
A paleontologist from Beijing called Jingmai O’Connor, who is also the co-author of the research, stated that data from the new studies of the remains showed that they were wrong.
However, the description of the new species is accurate, and this is still very interesting to us. The fossil was found back in 2016 in northern Myanmar. This place is a treasure when it comes to prehistoric animals preserved in amber.
The classification of this year of the bird-like dinosaur came into the discussion with other paleontologists, as well.
This new species has a lot of common features to the lizards of that era, features that have never been seen in the bird-like dinosaurs. Its teeth and the structure of its skull “overwhelmingly support its squamate [lizard or snake] affinity,” according to the research.