Friday, 9 December 2016

horse feathers

Palæontologists in Myanmar (Burma) have recently discovered the first definitive evidence of dinosaur plumage in the segment of a downy tail preserved in ancient amber.
The juvenile coelurosaur (meaning “hollow-tailed” lizard funnily) that the hundred-million-year old length of tail belonged to is in the same family as Tyrannosaurus rex, another member of late-stage dinosauria when birds were already becoming prevalent, and researchers now realise that many preserved specimens of dinosaur feathers have been discovered previously but without this contextual finding, there was little in the way of hard evidence and one had to rely on extrapolation and artists’ conceptions. Perhaps the image that we hold in our minds’ eye of dinosaurs has not been wholly updated yet but it’s still a difficult revelation to reconcile.  Our feathered friends that are still with us of course are dinosaurs and the analogies are not quite the same but what if we only knew tadpoles and frogs, or caterpillars and butterflies, from fossil evidence?  Would we have ever concluded that they were one and the same creature?