Researchers have discovered a bird foot from 99 million years ago that had a hyper-elongated third toe.This is the first time such a foot structure has been observed in birds either extinct or living
The researchers named it Elektorornis chenguangi. Elektronis means “amber bird”.It belongs to a group of extinct birds called Enantiornithes, the most abundant type of bird known from the Mesozoic era.
It is thought that Enantiornithines became extinct during the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event about 66 million years ago, along with dinosaurs.They have no living descendants.
Based on the fossil,the team estimated that the Elektorornis was smaller than a sparrow and it was arboreal which means it spent most of its time in trees as opposed to on the ground or in water.
Further,they have said that this bird may have used the long, sensitive toe to probe cracks in trees for insects and grubs.