It’s Jurassic Park, but without the DNA.
A chunk of amber from Myanmar has given conclusive proof that dinosaurs — at least some of them — really did sport colorful feathers.
Trapped within the fossilized sap was the end of a tail of a tiny dinosaur, with it’s feather delightfully preserved.
The full report, with more images, is offered omn an open access basis by the scientific journal Current Biology.
Ryan McKellar, a paleontologist at the Royal Saskatchwan Museum in Canada and co-author of the paper, says he was blown away 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.” The amber adds to fossil evidence that many dinosaurs sported feathers rather than scales.
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, McKellar said.
The tail section belongs to a young coelurosaurian — from the same group of dinosaurs as the predatory velociraptors and the tyrannosaurus. The sparrow-sized creature could have danced in the palm of your hand.
The amber, which weighs 6.5 grams, contains bone fragments and feathers, adding to mounting fossil evidence that many dinosaurs sported primitive plumage rather than scales.