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Dinosaur Trapped in Amber Shows Exquisite Detail in 3D

Image: Dinosaur Trapped in Amber Shows Exquisite Detail in 3D

A section of tail belonging to baby dinosaur preserved in amber. (Royal Saskatchewan Museum)
 

By    |   Friday, 09 Dec 2016 11:22 AM

A dinosaur’s tail trapped in amber and found at a market in Myanmar is being called a “once in a lifetime find.”

Xing Lida, a Chinese paleontologist, found the tail of a 99-million-year-old dinosaur at an amber market in a northern market near the Chinese border, CNN reported.

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

Ryan McKellar, a paleontologist at the Royal Saskatchwan Museum in Canada and co-author of the published issue, said he was taken aback by the findings.

“It’s a once in a lifetime find,” McKellar said. “The finest details are visible and in three dimensions.”

The feathered tail frozen in the piece of amber is 1.4 inches long, noted the Huffington Post.

“When it hit my desk, I was blown away,” McKellar said, per The New York Times. “It’s one of those things where you’re like ‘Wow, it’s the closest you’ll ever get to holding a fleshed-out dinosaur in your hands.”

“This is the first time that skeletal material from a dinosaur has been found in amber,” Xing said in an email, the Times noted.

At first, Xing and his colleagues believed that the findings might have belonged to a bird, but that analysis changed after they found that “the specimen’s tail vertebrae were not fused into a rod, as they are in modern birds,” The Times noted.

“They are more fuzzy than sleek,” McKellar said. “It shapes our view of how feathers came to develop in modern birds, and it gives us a rare glimpse of what dinosaurs looked like and potentially what feathers were being used for in the mid-Cretaceous.”

McKellar told National Geographic that the feathers that were likely “incapable of flight” might have provided “temperature regulation” or signal functioning.

“It’s a spectacular little glimpse,” McKellar said, according to the Huffington Post. “It gives us, basically, a pathway that gets us to modern feathers.”


The findings have been published in the December issue of Current Biology.

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A dinosaur’s tail trapped in amber and found at a market in Myanmar is being called a “once in a lifetime find.”
dinosaur, trapped, amber
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2016-22-09
Friday, 09 Dec 2016 11:22 AM
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