First Feathered Dinosaur Tail Found Preserved In Amber

December 8, 2016

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analysis of the sample revealed eight vertebrae from the middle or end of a long, thin tail that may have been originally made up of more than 25 vertebrae.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

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

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