THIS prehistoric bird was shorter than most people’s little finger — but it is now playing a big role in unlocking secrets of the past.
The tiny chick, under 2in tall and weighing 3oz, died soon after it was born 127million years ago.
The discovery of its fossilised remains near Cuenca, Spain, gave experts a rare chance to see how birds of its type — Enantiornithes — looked before reaching maturity.
They found the newborn could not yet fly, as with modern chicks, because its sternum had yet to harden. ‘It is amazing to realise how many features we see among living birds had already been developed,’ said study co-author Dr Luis Chiappe. Dr Fabien Knoll of Manchester University also worked on the project, reported in journal Nature Communications.