Beautiful Feathered Dinosaur Tail Discovered Preserved in Amber

Published On:December 9, 2016, 10:34 am

The tail of a 99-million-year-old feathered dinosaur has been found perfectly intact and preserved in amber in Myanmar, and it is one of the unprecedented discoveries which have baffled the scientists.

This exceptional, one in a million discoveries assists in putting flesh on the bones of such extinct creatures, and thereby giving rise to a new possibility on the biology of a group which significantly prevailed planet Earth for more than 160 million years. After the testing and scrutinizing the specimen, it has been found that the tail was chestnut brown on top and white on the underside.

Ryan McKellar, the co-author of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada said, "This is the first time we've found dinosaur material preserved in amber."

Chinese paleontologist Lida Xing from the China University of Geosciences in Beijing was the first to find the specimen which is the size of a dried apricot at an amber market in Northern Myanmar.

The 99 million year old remarkable piece of amber was already polished for a piece of jewelry with Burmese traders thinking that it was a plant fragment trapped inside the amber. When looked closely, it turned out to be the tail of a feathered dinosaur about a size of a sparrow.

Xing stated, "I realized that the content was a vertebrate, probably theropod, rather than any plant. I was not sure that (the trader) really understood how important this specimen was, but he did not raise the price."

Why is it a Once-in-a-lifetime-discovery?

The findings, which throw a fresh light on how the dinosaurs appeared, are issued in the December copy of Current Biology. Ryan McKeller mentioned that he was awestruck when Xing first showed him the piece of amber.

"It's a once in a lifetime find. The finest details are visible and in three dimensions."

Further the amber adds to the fossil evidence that most of the dinosaurs had feathers rather than scales.  McKeller said, “Fragments of dinosaur-era bird wings have been found preserved in amber before but this is the first time part of a mummified dinosaur skeleton has been discovered.”

The tail portion is owned by a young coelurosaurian, which is from the group of dinosaurs as the predatory tyrannosaurus and velociraptos. This sparrow-sized creature could have possible dances in the palm of our hand.

The amber weighed 6.5 grams, and consisted bone fragments and feathers, mounting as fossil evidence that many dinosaurs feathered primitive plumage rather than scales.

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