First Feathered Dinosaur Tail Found Preserved In Amber

December 8, 2016


This is a shot of the 99-million year old feathered dinosaur tail that was found preserved in amber in Myanmar (formally Burma). The piece was actually found by paleontologists at a market after the piece had already been shaped to become a pendant. Obviously, I am going to buy that pendant and clone dinosaurs. You watch -- the next Jurassic Park is going to be a reality show.

The semitranslucent mid-Cretaceous amber sample, roughly the size and shape of a dried apricot, captures one of the earliest moments of differentiation between the feathers of birds of flight and the feathers of dinosaurs.

Inside the lump of resin is a 1.4-inch appendage covered in delicate feathers, described as chestnut brown with a pale or white underside.

CT scans and microscopic analysis of the sample revealed eight vertebrae from the middle or end of a long, thin tail that may have been originally made up of more than 25 vertebrae.

Based on the structure of the tail, researchers believe it belongs to a juvenile coelurosaur, part of a group of theropod dinosaurs that includes everything from tyrannosaurs to modern birds.

I remember after reading Jurassic Park for the first time I would beg my parents to take me to gem and mineral shows so I could scour the booths for pieces of amber with insects inside. They would always cost a fortune though, so I never got any and usually went home with a couple pieces of tiger's eye instead. SPOILER: My attempts at cloning sabertooth tigers failed, presumably because tiger's eye isn't fossilized tiger's eyes. You'd think my parents would have told me.

Keep going for several more shots.




Thanks to Matt, who agrees we're just years away from our first dinosaur park and unavoidable disaster.

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