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Dinosaur Tail Feather Found Encrusted In the Piece Of Amber

First Posted: Dec 09, 2016 10:48 AM EST
The Yellow Amber Treasures Of Lebanon In Paris, France In June, 2001.

Photo : Marc DEVILLE / Contributor

It's about 65 million years ago from today Dinosaurs become extinct. But still, dinosaurs have always had the power to fascinate people, from Sci-Fi filmmakers to Paleontologists. The truth is there are more things to learn about dinosaurs.

While most of the paleontologists hunt caves and underground to find prehistoric bones, Dr. Lida Xing collects ambers from market to seek the existence of fossils. In 2015 he made a revolutionary discovery by finding the feathered tail of a dinosaur, stuck into a small piece of amber.

The lead paleontologist at the China University of Geosciences in Beijing, Dr. Xing said in an email,"This is the first time that skeletal material from a dinosaur has been found in amber". his findings were published in Current Biology journal on Thursday.

Scientists have named this amber, DIP-V-15103 and nicknamed "Eva" in honor of paleobotanist Eva Koppelhus. Dr. Xing has collected more than a dozen of samples, "DIP-V-15103" is one of them which was collected from Myitkyina,a famous amber market of Hukawang valley, Myanmar.

CT scan and microscopic results reveal that the feather doesn't belong to a bird. According to researchers that feather most probably belonged to a baby nonavian theropod, which is not more than a size of Sparrow. It has lots of similarities with a velociraptor or Tyrannosaurus rex(T-Rex) rather than a small bird. Using the radioactive carbon dating process scientists have figured out that the specimen is more than 99 million years old.

Xing contacted paleontologist Dr. Ryan McKellar, an amber expert from Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina, Canada to perform more research on this specimen. Dr. Mckellar performed several Tomographic scans and came up with a result that the tail consisting Eight vertebrae. He also described that the feather has a chestnut-brown upper surface & a pale white patch on the underside . this special pattern is known as countershading.

The research team has detected that those dinosaur species might have feathers but it couldn't fly like modern birds because it contains weak rachis and evenly spaced barbules which are not a perfect configuration to fly . They assumed that it may be helped those species to keep their body warm.This study also denotes the presence of the ferrous ion, which comes from the decomposition of blood Hemoglobin.

Meanwhile, Dr.Xing is planning to access the amber mine to find more specimens, which will help to understand the evolution.

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