December 2016


First Feathered Dinosaur Tail Found Preserved in Amber

Myanmar artists were shaping amber into jewelry when a paleontologist spotted a feathered tail perfectly preserved in an apricot-sized piece. The tail belonged to Coelurosaur, a small dinosaur about the size of a house cat. According to this paper puplished in Current Biology, the 99-million-year-old Coelurosaur’s tail was so well protected by the amber that bones, soft tissue and even feathers were found.   The amber fossil is definitive proof that many dinosaurs were feathered and brightly colored, not scaly. Science seems to be destroying our Hollywood image of dinosaurs. A study in Evolution reports that many dinosaurs also communicated with coos, booms, and hoots, not roars. The amazingly well preserved Coelurosaur tail is a once-in-a-lifetime find as organic material decomposes very quickly. Amber is very valuable to scientists because of its ability to stop insects and other tiny animals from decomposing. This precious stone is formed from sticky tree resin that dries and becomes fossilized.…