Science

Preserved Dinosaur Tail Belonged To Baby Dinasaur 99 Million Years Ago, Study Says

By Anne Dominguez , Jan 09, 2017 12:32 PM EST

It looks like feathered dinosaurs are closer to reality than those scaly dinosaurs found in fiction films like Godzilla. A recent study reveals the feathered tail which was preserved in amber belongs to baby dinosaur which existed about 99 million years ago. The dinosaur tail was preserved in a apricot-sized amber together with plant debris.

Lida Xing, a paleontologist at Beijing's China University of Geosciences saw the amber in a marker in Myanmar in 2015. The seller believed it contained a preserved plant however, Xing suspected it contains something more valuable and persuaded the Dexu Institute of Paleontology to buy it.

True enough, aside from insects and plant fragments the semi-translucent stone was revealed to contain a tail, measuring about 1.4 inches long. In a study published in Current Biology, it was revealed that the tail has eight vertebrae encased by soft tissues which includes skin, ligaments, and muscles. The researchers studied the amber using CT scans and other microscopic exams.

Researchers revealed the tail belonged to a non-avialan theropod, probably a juvenile coelurosaur which existed on Earth about million years ago. The baby dinosaur, which the researchers nicknamed "Eva," was most likely got a portion of its tail stuck in tree resin. The researchers added that since dinosaurs can't shed their feathers like other animals, Eva probably died soon after.

"The more we see these feathered dinosaurs and how widespread the feathers are, things like a scaly velociraptor seem less and less likely and they've become a lot more bird like in the overall view," Ryan McKellar, a paleontologist at the Royal Saskatchwan Museum in Canada told CNN.

"They're not quite the Godzilla-style scaly monsters we once thought," he added. The discovery of the dinosaur tail also highlighted the unique preservation potential of amber, which poses a great help to the discovery of other preserved fossils in the future.

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