Scientists in China have found a 99 million year old dinosaur tail encased in a piece of amber a jeweler had been shaping. They were delighted to see the undeniable feathers coating the segment of tail. The experts say that the structure of the tail and feathers signify that this tail is not from a flying dinosaur, and that the feathers were present more for show. The amber sample has been nicknamed Eva, after University of Alberta Paleobotany professor Eva Koppelhus. It is thought that the tail belongs to a juvenile coelurosaur, a large clade of animals including the Tyrannosaurus and modern birds. The amber comes from the mines of the Hukawng Valley in Kachin, China. These mines are thought to preserve the largest variety of Cretaceous animals and plants. Scientists hope to explore the contents of these mines more as political tensions in the area continue to diminish.
Thanks to the latest discoveries in China, paleoartist Robert Nicholls has sculpted this depiction of the Psittacosaurus. The dinosaur is a turkey-sized herbivore that once roamed the lands of Asia. The sculpture has a steel frame with polystyrene and wire mesh used to add bulk and clay was formed into all the little details. The clay piece was used to make a mould and create a fiberglass model to paint. The model and the incredibly detailed and revealing fossil it was based off of can be seen at the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History in Frankfurt, Germany. The team that helped to create this model used a laser to examine the pigments of the dinosaur. The artist commented that the structure of this dinosaur surprised him and “when the anatomy surprises me – it confirms that I’ve followed the fossil evidence rather than any preconceived ideas of my own”. The dinosaur is named for its parrot-like appearance, but analyses of its beak and potential muscular structures suggest it could not have had the same unique muscles as the parrot.
The next step in the analysis coming from this exciting fossil find was trying to learn more about the animal’s environment. Instead of following the typical path of predicting and understanding animal appearance based off of their environment, the scientists figured out the appearance first and observed the model’s camouflage abilities in different environments, finding that the shading worked best in forest environments where the light is diffused. The facial shading did not match with this camouflaging technique so experts predict the facial appearance was mostly for show.
This publication was describing how the bones of a dinosaur that were given to Yale by a Professor C.C. Marsh are being restored. They insist of only using adjectives which describe the dinosaur as huge or giant; the height and length are the only things of interest within this short article. When seen along with the whole page it was published on, this article is a minute portion of the whole newspaper page. The takeaway from this is that people would only be interested about this discovery and accomplishment if they acknowledge that the bones are big and the creature is huge; otherwise, they may have had an even smaller slot to discuss the details of their findings.
Recently, it has been discovered that dinosaurs might have had feathers instead of scales. The picture above shows what a Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus might have looked like with its feathered body. This suggests that dinosaurs might be more closely related to birds instead of reptiles.
(Picture from National Geographic)
These clips relate to evolution and myth. They are animated episodes that depict what a dinosaur’s life could have been like all those years ago. Some of the clips even have dinosaurs with feathers.
From the Dinosaur Planet series (2003)
White Tip’s Journey (Best demonstration of feathered raptors and assumed life style – episode split into 8, 5-minute parts):
Pod’s Travels (Feathered raptor’s journey – raptor gets swept away to an unknown island with miniature dinosaurs):
Little Das’ Hunt (About a small T-Rex has some introduction of feathered dinosaurs):
Alpha’s Egg (Long Neck Dinosaurs, not really any feathers):
Each episode is approximately an hour long