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Prehistoric feathers found trapped in amber

11 prehistoric protofeathers have been found in western Canada, preserved in amber.

Some amber blobs hold primitive single-filament protofeathers that are probably best described as “fuzz”. Paleontologists believe that this insulating fluff belonged to non-flying dinosaurs like the tyrannosaurids. At the other end of the spectrum, the amber artifacts show how the filaments eventually coalesced to form central branches, and velcro-like barbs hook onto each other to create large surface areas for a sturdy flight surface. They’re dead ringers for modern day bird feathers.

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Story: Mark Brown, Wired | Photo: PhotoScience/McKellaret al

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