The tail of a feathered dinosaur was found perfectly preserved in amber and research was done on it at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM).
The tail was found in a piece of amber from a mine in northern Myanmar. The amber was purchased from a market in Myanmar by Lida Xing from the China University of Geosciences and is around 99 million years old
Ryan McKellar, curator of invertebrate paleontology at the RSM and is a colleague of Xing, said the upper surface of the tail would have been a chocolate brown colour and the underside of the tail would’ve been paler-white.
“Some of the first feathers might’ve been a little more fuzzy than we think which means that they could’ve been used for things like camouflage or insulation but not necessarily for flight,” McKellar said.
He also said this discovery could have an impact on how bird and dinosaur evolution is viewed as a whole.
The tail is believed to be from a coelurosaur, which is a theropoda dinosaur. McKellar said it would have a similar body shape to a velociraptor or a T-Rex.
“This particular specimen was probably a juvenile and not much bigger than a sparrow.”
McKellar said the sample came from a non-avian dinosaur because in the sample “the vertebrates are visible and are not fused together to form a solid rod, like those that are seen in modern birds and their closest relatives.”
The RSM is one of five labs in the world where amber research like this is being performed.