The tail of a 99-million year old dinosaur has been found entombed in amber, an unprecedented discovery that has blown away scientists.
Xing Lida, a Chinese paleontologist found the specimen, the size of a dried apricot, at an amber market in northern Myanmar near the Chinese border.
The remarkable piece was destined to end up as a curiosity or piece of jewelry, with Burmese traders believing a plant fragment was trapped inside.
“I realized that the content was a vertebrate, probably theropod, rather than any plant,” Xing told CNN.
“I was not sure that (the trader) really understood how important this specimen was, but he did not raise the price.”
This was a tiny dinosaur, about the size of a sparrow. Not exactly the stuff of Jurassic Park nightmares.
This find is unique because of how well the fragment is preserved.
“It’s a once in a lifetime find. The finest details are visible and in three dimensions.”
Fragments of dinosaur-era bird wings have been found preserved in amber before but this is the first time part of a mummified dinosaur skeleton has been discovered, McKellar said.
There was also some pigmentation preserved in the feathers, which helps the scientists figure out what the dinosaur looked like with greater accuracy.