13 Diciembre 2016 23:08
A new finding has captivated the scientific community. A 99-million-year-old dinosaur tail preserved in amber, including bones, soft tissue, and feathers, has been reported in the journal Current Biology.
Initially, researchers thought that the tail might actually have belonged to a prehistoric bird, but the presence of articulated tail vertebrae enabled them to rule out that possibility.Now, for the first time ever, scientists can conclusively confirm the presence of feathers on the body of a dinosaur. This discovery will help open new avenues of investigation into the evolution of these creatures who ruled the world for 160 million years. "This is the first time we’ve found dinosaur remains preserved in amber," study co-author Ryan McKellar of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada told the BBC. For the first time, scientists can conclusively confirm the presence of feathers on the body of a dinosaur, a discovery that will help open new avenues of investigation into the evolution of these creatures who ruled the world for 160 million years The tail is 1.4 inches long and chestnut brown with a pale underside. It’s believed to belong to a young coelurosaur, part of a group of theropod dinosaurs that includes tyrannosaurs and modern birds. This individual was about the size of a sparrow.
One of the strangest twists in this tail is that the amber sample, nicknamed “Eva”, almost ended up as a piece of jewellery. Fortunately, the study’s lead author, Lida Xing of the China University of Geosciences, found it just in time at an amber market in Myitkyina, Burma.
The seller thought that the tail was plant material and had already begun shaping the amber into a piece of jewellery. If Xing hadn’t found it first, the game-changing sample would probably have ended up hanging around the neck of someone who had no idea that they were wearing a 99-million-year-old clue to dinosaur evolution.The lead author of the study, Lida Xing, found the amber sample in a market in Myitkyina, Burma, where it was being made into a piece of jewellery The sample originally comes from a mine in Hukawng Valley, in Kachin state, which has been an amber producer for 2,000 years. Although the area is a treasure trove of plant and animal life from the Cretaceous period, the decades-long conflict between the Myanmar government and the Kachin Independence Army has made access to the mines difficult.
However, Xing believes that the conflict is “nearing an end” and that this will lead to increased scientific access to the area and more fantastic findings. "Maybe we can find a complete dinosaur," Xing speculates.