New Amber Fossil - Uncovers A Rare Specimen

 

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The Tail of feathered dinosaur was recently uncovered perfectly preserved in amber from Myanmar. This offers a once in a lifetime glance into a prehistoric time more than 160 million years ago.

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The Tail recently discovered helps put flesh on these once extinct creatures. From further examination, the sample suggests the tail was chestnut brown on the top side with a white patch underneath.

 

amber in feather

Photo courtesy of the BBC

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

The study's first author, Lida Xing from the China University of Geosciences in Beijing, discovered the remarkable fossil at an amber market in Myitkina, Myanmar.

What makes this discovery even more remarkable is the way that the tail was brought into the limelight. Originally in a private collection as a jungle flora preservation, the 99 million-year-old amber was polished and listed as such.

Upon closer examination, the mossy looking patch was revealed to be the remains of a feathery creature. I can’t imagine how the seller of the rare find must feel knowing they gave up a little piece of history.

This artist gives us a recreation of what the dinosaur might have looked like. Not much bigger than a sparrow this dinosaur should not be confused with an ancient bird due to its unique anatomy said, Dr. Mckellar.

Dinosaur recreation

Photo courtesy of the BBC

"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," he explained.

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

There are signs that the dinosaur contained fluids as it was bound with the tree resin suggesting that it’s last few days were spent trapped in the sticky substance bound to become the amber we see today.

Co-author Prof Mike Benton added: "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."

An examination of the amber revealed traces of ferrous iron, the leftover remains of the dinosaur blood fossilized some time ago. Other clues like the feather arrangements give paleontologists insights into how this creature may have appeared, this is significant since 3D features are often lost in the image of fossils due to the collapse of the frame as it forms into rocks.

amber

Photo courtesy of the BBC

In north-eastern Myanmar, where the species was found has been known to produce large amounts of the worlds amber for the last 2,000 years.   So much so that it has become a hub for those who study ancient insects. Unfortunately, due to the mining process, large specimens are often broken up before fully discovered. See our polished amber is sourced and safely mined to avoid damaging these great works of art.

Check out our full collection of rough and polished amber. Take home a little piece of history!