This dinosaur tail in amber reminds birds of their once and future empire

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For the first time, the feathered tail of a 99-million-year-old dinosaur has been found preserved in amber. That would be plenty exciting, but there’s more: this dinosaur had feathers.

The 1.4-inch tail, described in a paper published today in the journal Current Biology, is part of a treasure trove of fossils that paleontologist Lida Xing from the China University of Geosciences discovered last year at an amber market in Myanmar, in Southeast Asia. The tail most likely belongs to a tiny feathered dino that was no bigger than a sparrow. The tail is so small that it suggests the dinosaur was a juvenile; the animal likely died in northwest Myanmar before tree resin encased its tail.

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