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The smallest known dinosaur is actually a peculiar ancient lizard

National Geographic Society
National Geographic Partners
University College London
University of South Florida
China’s Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology
Germany’s University of Konstanz
the Kachin Development Networking Group
United Nations Human Rights Council
the Society of Vertebrate
the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
the Peretti Museum Foundation
nonprofit’s Swiss
Sam Houston State University

Susan Evans
Myanmar’s Kachin
Ryan Carney
” Evans
Jingmai O’Connor
Mark Scherz
” Scherz
Adolf Peretti—a
Juan Daza


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The New York Times
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Some 99 million years ago in what's now Myanmar, tree resin oozes over and entombs Oculudentavis khaungraae, an enigmatic animal now classified as a lizard.PUBLISHED August 13, 2020A newly described fossil preserved in amber reveals that a 99-million-year-old creature called Oculudentavis, recently heralded as a hummingbird-size dinosaur, was more likely a bizarre type of lizard.In March, the first known amber-encased skull of Oculudentavis made a global splash, appearing on the cover of the scientific journal Nature and garnering widespread media coverage, including by National Geographic. Evolution gradually shaped Oculudentavis and its distant bird relatives into similar forms—a process much like the one that gave marine mammals streamlined, fish-like bodies.“The skull of Oculudentavis is strikingly different from any known lizard and represents a startling instance of convergent evolution,” the researchers write in a preprint describing the new fossil.Like the original Oculudentavis fossil, the new specimen hails from the amber mines in northern Myanmar’s Kachin state. Now, with the second fossil in hand, the scientists who originally described Oculudentavis as a toothed bird agree that the creature wasn’t a dinosaur.“I do think that [the new paper’s researchers] are right, that it is a lizard,” says original study co-author Jingmai O’Connor, a paleontologist at China’s Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology. On July 22, 2020, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology sent out a follow-up letter with further information on the conflict, including the U.N. report.“We recognize that some amber specimens may not be linked to illegal trade and human rights abuses, but the situation in Myanmar is so complex that scientists should be aware of how the amber trade has been used in internal conflicts,” the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology wrote.The researchers behind the new Oculudentavis fossil say that they worked hard to ethically source the specimen, which first came to light in late 2017 when gemologist and amber collector Adolf Peretti—a co-author of the new study—was shown the fossil during a humanitarian visit to Kachin.

As said here by Michael Greshko