This is like a scene out Jurassic Park. A newly discovered fossil of a dinosaur tail found in amber has confirmed long held suspicions that dinosaurs were indeed covered in feathers. A feathery T-Rex now that would be uber cute.
According to National Geographic, the 99-million-year-old fossil was originally picked at a northern Myanmar amber market by palaeontologist Lida Xing from the China University of Geosciences. After further examination Xing and his teamed discovered the amber preserved a whole section of a dinosaur tail complete with soft tissue, bones and feathers.
The team knew it was a dinosaur and not a bird because its vertebrae are articulated, as birds have “a set of fused tail vertebrae called a pygostyle that enables tail feathers to move as a single unit.”
In the past there’s been evidence of feathered dinosaurs, but this is the first sample to actually show feathers on a dinosaur. It makes you think that after all these years what else is still out there to be discovered? In regards to what type of dinosaur this tail belonged to and exactly how cool it may have looked, the team have several theories, the most being that it could be “basal [primitive] maniraptoran” a group that includes the Oviraptorosaur, a.k.a. “The chicken from hell.”
A video from National Geographic has some cool close-ups of the fossil and a kinda cute rendering of what the dinosaur might have looked like. I want one!