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Actual dinosaur tail found preserved in amber


Posted on Thursday, 8 December, 2016 | Comment icon 47 comments

Coelurosaur was a species of therapod dinosaur. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Greg Goebel
The unprecedented 99 million-year-old specimen contains preserved bones, soft tissues and feathers.
The incredible discovery, which is being hailed as a world first, has provided scientists with a unique opportunity to study - not just a fossil - but an actual piece of dinosaur, frozen in time.

The apricot-sized specimen, which was found in an amber mine in north-eastern Myanmar, contains the perfectly preserved tail of a juvenile coelurosaur - a type a therapod dinosaur.

Scans of the amber indicate the presence of eight vertebrae from the tail's mid-section along with several delicate feathers which have been described as brown on the top and white underneath.


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

"We can be sure of the source because the vertebrae are not fused into a rod or pygostyle as in modern birds and their closest relatives."

"Instead, the tail is long and flexible, with keels of feathers running down each side."

The remarkable discovery is undoubtedly one the most significant palaentological finds in years.

"It's amazing to see all the details of a dinosaur tail - the bones, flesh, skin, and feathers - and to imagine how this little fellow got his tail caught in the resin, and then presumably died because he could not wrestle free," said study co-author Prof Mike Benton from the University of Bristol.

Source: BBC news | Comments (47)

Tags: Dinosaur, Amber

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #38 Posted by Parsec on 10 December, 2016, 20:38
Really?!  Two pages and no one has mentioned Jurassic Park and/or cloning yet?  I'm baffled.  And shame on you all.    Anyway, any possibility to actually finally extract some useful dna from there, use it for cloning the dinosaur, unlock other species and open a real Jurassic Park? 
Comment icon #39 Posted by oldrover on 10 December, 2016, 20:44
Conventional wisdom says no, the DNA would have degraded by then. But then they said that about the idea of organic material surviving in fossils.  
Comment icon #40 Posted by Mr.United_Nations on 14 December, 2016, 14:32
Jurrasic park extracted dino dna from mosqutios 
Comment icon #41 Posted by Parsec on 14 December, 2016, 20:07
True, but the cloned ones weren't feathered either.  Life imitates art, but it also updates it. 
Comment icon #42 Posted by DieChecker on 16 December, 2016, 5:14
I thought they dismissed that due to the "frog" DNA added to the mix. 
Comment icon #43 Posted by ShadowSot on 16 December, 2016, 5:42
It's a throw away line,  but in Jurassic World BD Wong's character mentions they engineered the dinosaurs in part to fit public perception.  And if they hadn't,  they'd have looked very different.    One of the few things I actually appreciated in the film. 
Comment icon #44 Posted by third_eye on 16 December, 2016, 15:43
Ditto ~
Comment icon #45 Posted by oldrover on 16 December, 2016, 16:27
Why don't they just re-jig the CGI to add feathers and proper hand positions, they re edited ET to change the guns for walkie talkies, unless that was South Park. 
Comment icon #46 Posted by Parsec on 16 December, 2016, 20:03
I shamefully confess: I still have to watch Jurassic World.  That line makes a lot of sense.    Anyway, on a more serious note, it would be really interesting if they'd manage to actually extract useful dna.  Maye not (good) enough for cloning, but at least for sequencing. 
Comment icon #47 Posted by ShadowSot on 16 December, 2016, 21:16
Because it's a sequel to the other ones. Bit of a shave, but they can't go back and make the velocirapters small and fuzzy.


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