Feathered Dinosaur Tail Discovered!

 

I can’t even remember what I was originally going to write about today. It doesn’t matter.

Why? Because all I can think about is this FEATHERY BABY DINOSAUR TAIL.

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image source: nationalgeographic.com

 

I just read this article:

First Dinosaur Tail Found Preserved in Amber

Go check that out. Really, go read that article!

There’s an NPR article, too: Baby Dinosaur’s 99-Million-Year-Old Tail, Encased in Amber, Surfaces in Myanmar

I don’t know if I can express how excited I am about this.

The tail they found was curved, indicating it was definitely a dinosaur’s tail and not a bird’s, since the vertebrae in bird’s tails are fused, apparently.

It was the tail of a teeny little coelurosaur, and they named it EVA. Oh my goodness.

I really love dinosaurs. Jurassic Park is one of my favorite movies.

I don’t actually want them to clone them and reintroduce them to the world, to be clear, although I got a good laugh from the second comment on the NatGeo article:

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Learning more about them, though, and being able to see such incredible physical evidence of them, gets me very excited.

I have to be honest. If we did end up cloning dinosaurs, I can’t pretend I wouldn’t do just about anything to go see a live one. Even if it eventually killed me, it would quite possibly be worth it.

I cry every time I watch the triceratops scene in Jurassic Park.

Even though it’s a relatively old movie, considering how quickly movie technology advances, the animatronics have stood the test of time pretty well.

I mean, it’s not like watching the original Godzilla.

Okay, fine, here’s the movie trailer for the 1954 Godzilla film.

Dynamic violence!
Savage action!
Spectacular thrills!

There are an astounding number of amazing adjectives and most marvelous superlatives in that trailer!

And yet it falls a little short of thrilling me, whereas Jurassic Park has me on a rollercoaster of emotion every time I watch it.

Anyway, back to the real dinosaurs. The NPR article talks about the structure of the feathers in the discovered tail, and what it might indicate for the appearance of the feathers. This is quite cool:

“I think the fact that the finest branches, which could have harbored this bright iridescence, got established before we got very robust feathers — that could potentially lean toward this idea that feathers were mainly used to show off before they got used to fly with,” Vinther says.

“The fact that barbules might have originated earlier clearly show that some of these very bright colors, like this metallic iridescence, could have originated earlier,” he adds. “Perhaps a greater number of dinosaurs, and more primitive dinosaurs, could have been iridescent.”

And that means that feathered dinosaurs — even ones way back in evolutionary history — might have pranced around looking quite flamboyant.

Quite flamboyant. How fabulous is it to see dinosaurs described as prancing around looking quite flamboyant?

I hope this discovery helps us to get an even better idea of what these awesome creatures truly looked like in their lifetime. I’m loving the idea of peacockish iridescent raptors.

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image source: glitter-graphics.com

Not quite like that, but that’s still fun to look at.

It would probably look more like this:

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image source: terradaily.com

There’s an interesting article to go along with that photo, actually, if you’re interested: Evidence of iridescent feathers in a tree-hopping dino

If you haven’t already, I really recommend you click on the National Geographic and NPR articles and read through them instead of just taking my word for it. They’re worth the time.

Possibly the most exciting part of this news is that there may soon be more access to the area where this amber was found, and there’s a likelihood of more paleontological discoveries to be made in those amber mines.

Awesome.

Keep doing your thing, dino scientists! You’re making this lady very happy!