Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fossil Feathers

The limestone beds of northeastern China continue to produce many beautiful dinosaur fossils, including dozens with well-preserved feathers. Dinosaur feathers have also been preserved in amber. All sorts of ancient feathers are turning up, from simple filaments to complex structures like those of modern birds. Some feathers are so well preserved that we can even make educated guesses about their color. The study of feathers and their evolution is now one of the hottest topics in paleontology, so look for many more announcements in the next few years. Above, an Archaeopteryx feather.

Epidexipteryx hui, a small dinosaur with long tail feathers.

Jinfengopteryx elegans.

Microraptor gui.


And a series of feathers preserved in amber.

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