Thursday, 8 December 2016

Piece of Dinosaur Tail found in Amber

At a market in northern Burma last year, Lida Xing noticed a chunk of amber with a dark blotch inside. The impurity — plant matter, it seemed at first — made the amber far less valuable. But it made the specimen priceless to Xing. Trapped inside the amber was a piece of dinosaur tail, complete with feathers preserved in microscopic detail. The researchers believe the 3.7-centimetre-long section of tail — eight vertebrae wrapped in skin and soft tissue and covered with pigmented plumage — belonged to a theropod that lived in the mid-Cretaceous, approximately 99 million years ago.

This is the second piece of amber containing feathered dinosaur-era remains that the researchers have reported this year. In June, McKellar and Xing reported the discovery of a wing from a primitive Cretaceous bird.
Most scientists now accept that many dinosaurs were feathered, and this discovery will help answer questions about exactly what those dinosaurs looked like and how feathers evolved.