The appendage from a juvenile dinosaur’s tail was discovered in tree resin from 99 million years ago.
The reptile’s tail was covered in feathers, giving a unique insight into feathered dinosaurs that prospered during the Cretaceous Period.
1.4 inches of the tail was contained within the amber. It was complete with bones, flesh, skin and feathers. It is believed that the entire dinosaur was less than 6 inches long.
Having its tail stuck in resin was a game-ender for the reptile because dinosaurs could not drop their tails like some lizards. If the entire dinosaur was covered in the type of feathers seen in the sample, the dinosaur would likely have been incapable of flight.
This discovery sheds light on the evolution of feathers. The dinosaur feathers were more primitive and lacking the central shaft seen in bird feathers.
Feathers have been discovered in two distinct groups. There were the theropods in China and ornithischians in Russia. The common ancestor of these species might have existed 220 million years ago.
With this discovery, these prehistoric celebrities are no longer seen as scary, scaly creatures. It is now known that a lot of them had a fluffy, downy covering like feathers on a chick.
It leaves one wondering if the pictures of dinosaurs, in children’s books, need to be redrawn to make creatures like Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus rex and the vicious Velociraptor, fluffier and cuter.
“Professor Scry has published four books, blogs about the importance of literature and the impacts reading makes on a child.”