100 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Tail Discovered And It’s Covered In Feathers

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Paleontologists have just discovered the first tail of a dinosaur preserved in amber and to scientist’ delight, the 99 million-year-old appendage is covered in feathers! An astonishing discovery that validates the many theories that have been circulating for years now but were facing a wall of popular belief. Whether it’s movies like Jurassic Park or the toys of our childhood, our image of dinosaurs has been strongly inked and it will time for our perception of dinosaurs to change!

This dinosaur tail preserved in amber was discovered by the paleontologist Lida Xing in Burma, and it dates back to the Cretaceous period, about 99 million years ago. This piece of amber contains a tail piece of 3.5 centimeters, containing 8 vertebrae, which undoubtedly belonged to a young Coelurosaurus, the dinosaur family which also includes Tyrannosaurus.

A segment from the feathered tail of a dinosaur that lived 99 million years ago is preserved in amber. A Cretaceous-era ant and plant debris were also trapped in the resin.

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© R. C. McKellar, Royal Saskatchewan Museum / via National Geographic

A micro-CT scan reveals the delicate feathers that cover the dinosaur tail.

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© Lida Xing / via National Geographic

The dinosaur feather structure is open, flexible, and similar to modern ornamental feathers.

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© Lida Xing – R. C. McKellar, Royal Saskatchewan Museum / via Current Biology

A scan of the underside of the tail shows the feather arrangement.

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© Lida Xing – R. C. McKellar, Royal Saskatchewan Museum / via Current Biology

The amber sample, from a mine in Myanmar, had already been partially shaped into an oval by a jewelry maker.

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© R. C. McKellar, Royal Saskatchewan Museum / via National Geographic

The amber sample comes from a mine in the Hukawng Valley in Kachin state, northern Myanmar. It is believed that amber from this region contains the world’s largest variety of animal and plant life from the Cretaceous period. Meanwhile, Lida Xing, the paleontologist who led the research team that made the discovery, believes that the “nearing end” of a decades-old conflict between the Myanmar government and the Kachin Independence Army will lead to increased scientific access to the amber mines and, in, turn, to an increase in spectacular discoveries.

“Maybe we can find a complete dinosaur,” speculates Xing.