Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dinofeathers in amber

An amazing find from Alberta, Canada:
Feathers believed to be from dinosaurs have been found beautifully preserved in Alberta amber.
The primitive, hair-like feathers known as protofeathers likely belonged to theropods — dinosaurs similar to tiny Tyrannosaurus rexes — that roamed the swampy forests of Alberta 80 million years ago, said Alexander P. Wolfe, a University of Alberta earth sciences professor who co-authored the research published Thursday in Science.
...The feathers are preserved down to the pigments that show what colour they are and microscopic details of their structure.
Based on the fact that the protofeathers were just single filaments or clumps of filaments, just two centimetres long, the researchers concluded "these had nothing to do with flight," Wolfe said.
Instead, he believes they were used to keep the dinosaurs warm.
Another of the Canadian specimens. Image source.

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