Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
Fossil footprints on Scottish island reveal dinosaur parade ground
On a crag of rock called Brother's Point on Scotland's Isle of Skye, scientists have identified two bustling footprint sites that reveal an abundance of dinosaurs that thrived 170 million years ago including an early member of a celebrated group. Researchers on Wednesday said about 50 fossilized footprints making up several different trackways were found at the two sites located a few hundred yards (meters) apart on the scenic promontory that juts into the chilly North Atlantic.
Skull of smallest-known bird embedded in 99-million-year-old amber
Scientists are marveling over the exquisitely preserved skull of what appears to be the smallest-known bird - tinier than any hummingbird - encased in 99-million-year-old amber and boasting many odd traits including jaws studded with numerous puny teeth. The skull, measuring about half an inch (14.25 mm) long, belongs to a bird called Oculudentavis khaungraae that lived during the Cretaceous Period in what is now northern Myanmar, the researchers said on Wednesday. None of the rest of the body was preserved, but the researchers estimated that Oculudentavis weighed about an ounce (28 grams) and measured 2 inches (5 cm) long including a hypothetical bony tail.
On faraway planet, it's cloudy with a chance of liquid iron rain
Scientists have detected an exotic planet in another solar system where the weather forecast is always dire - a 100 percent chance of the most outrageous rain imaginable, with droplets of scaldingly hot liquid iron. The researchers said on Wednesday they used the planet-hunting ESPRESSO instrument on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile to observe a planet called WASP-76b located about 640 light years from Earth. It is nearly twice the size of Jupiter, our solar system's largest planet.