Quirks & Quarks

Check out this 99-million year old dino feather

An amazing find reveals a wealth of information about a sparrow-sized dinosaur.
A beetle is trapped in amber alongside a 99-million year old dinosaur feather. It was found in an amber market in Myanmar. (Ryan McKellar)

We think of new dinosaur discoveries coming out of the fossil record. But a Chinese and Canadian researcher have found a 99 million year old intact dinosaur tail feather preserved in amber. 

What's even more remarkable is where it was found: at an amber market in Myanmar.  It could've easily been sold as jewellry but paleontologist Dr. Lida Xing recognized it as having greater importance. 

A recreation of what a Maniraptora would have looked like, based on a 99-million year old feather found preserved in amber. (Ryan McKellar)

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He brought the dried-apricot sized piece of amber to Dr. Ryan McKellar at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum where the team was able to analyze it in detail. 

As Dr. McKellar says, this dinosaur tail feather find opens the door to a better understanding of feather evolution. 

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