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Scientists discover dinosaur tail with intact feathers

Posted on Friday, December 09 2016 @ 17:05:41 CET by


Scientists have known for years that the dinosaurs we know from pop culture like Jurassic Park do not resemble most of the dinosaurs that roamed the Earth millions of years ago. Dinosaurs were long believed to be linked to reptiles, but more recent research suggest they're more closely related to birds.

Now news emerges that scientists have discovered the first dinosaur remains with intact feathers. Geoscientist Lida Xing was browsing an amber market in Myitkyina, Myanmar in 2015 when he came across an usual piece of amber. He convinced the Dexu Institute of Paleontology to buy the amber, and after closer investigation it turned out to be eight fully preserved vertebrae from a young coelurosaur!

Due to the structure of the tail, scientists believe the feather bearer is unlikely to have been capable of flight. As such, the feathers were likely for decoration purposes, with a chestnut brown on top and a creamy white underneath. Full details about the find can be read at ARS Technica
Bristol University paleobiologist Jacob Vinther told NPR's Rae Ellen Bichell that this structure also meant that colorful, iridescent feathers may have evolved before ones capable of flight. "I think the fact that the finest branches, which could have harbored this bright iridescence, got established before we got very robust feathers—that could potentially lean toward this idea that feathers were mainly used to show off before they got used to fly with," Vinther said. "Perhaps a greater number of dinosaurs, and more primitive dinosaurs, could have been iridescent."
Dinosaur tail with feathers



 



 

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