In what is safe to call a scientific breakthrough that resembles Science Fiction, the tail of what is believed is a feathered dinosaur was found preserved in resin. For now, we know that it may be an adult specimen, as the feathers are fully developed, and that it was a coelurosaur theropod –a kind of two legged small dinosaur.–
“A lot of what we know about the evolution of feathers we’ve pieced together from two-dimensional data,” Alan Turner, a paleontologist at Stony Brook University, states. “Most ancient feathers are preserved in compression fossils, formed in rock as preserved material is squished and flattened in the sediment. But feathers are not flat. So “having something three-dimensional like this is nice because the three-dimensional geometry is preserved.”
“In this specimen, we’re seeing barbs that are looking like they’re branching off of each other” rather than a rachis, says study co-author Ryan McKellar, curator of invertebrate paleontology at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. “And the barbules don’t seem to zip together like they do in the flight feathers of modern birds.”
As any Jurassic Park fan could see, the findings are not only exciting, but will contribute to the better understanding of a long-gone species that continues to surprise us. Scientists in the team that found this specimen say that there are still a lot of tests to perform and that much more information may come afterwards. For now, researchers say that it better contributes to the information we already had that confirms that dinosaurs are in fact, a type of bird. The lead scientist even stated that the findings are not really controversial, as this information has been confirmed a long time ago. But, even if these findings are not crucial, they are indeed important ad exciting, and we hope we will have a lot more information about our predecessors in the future; which could also lead to a better understanding of the causes of their extinction.