Friday, September 20, 2013


On the one hand, it has just been shown that amber does not preserve the DNA of prehistoric creatures. On the other hand, it preserves dinosaur feathers and protofeathers (a.k.a. "dinofuzz") in such detail that it can be determined whether they helped with flight or diving. A team of researchers from the University of Alberta lead by Ryan McKellar found that Late Cretaceous Canadian amber (IMAGES HERE) was best at preserving the rare filaments. The feathers in the fossilized resin match compression fossils discovered with dinosaur skeletons and even allow them to assess their color. That in the feathers depicted above ranges from translucent to near-black. The scientists write, "Because amber preserves feather structure and pigmentation in unmatched detail, these fossils provide novel insights regarding feather evolution."

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