Dinosaur feathers that probably belonged to an unknown dinosaur species of the late cretaceous period was discovered in Canada, Journal Science reported.
Canadian researcher Ryan McKellar discovered samples of colorful dinosaur feathers which leads to the idea that the mesozoic world of dinosaurs and birds was not black-and-white after all.
The dinosaur fossils with feathers are believed to give light to the evolution of dinosaur descendants and of the early birds. Paleontologists have been searching these dinosaur feathers for more than two decades now!
The newly found colorful feathers are small in number, but will “provide novel insights regarding feather formation,” said McKellar.
After exploring 4,000 specimens preserved in tree resin that later became amber, McKellar considered only 11 samples, which the journal Science described as “the richest amber feather find from the late Cretaceous period,” which was about 80 million years ago and came after the Jurassic period.
In the study, parallels were drawn between the structures of the feathers and those of the earliest non-flying dinosaurs, however, the feathers could have still been of flying dinosaurs. According to the researchers, the feathers “display pigmentation and adaptations for flight and diving.” However, the filament structures of the dinosaur feathers are similar to other non-avian dinosaur fossils found before.
The dinosaur feathers were discovered near Grassy Lake in southwestern Alberta but there were no fossils or dinosaurs found in the area. This incident suggests that a range of dinosaurs and birds once nested, flew and swam there.
“Only now are we beginning to understand just how diverse feather types were in the Mesozoic, roughly the age of dinosaurs from 250 million to 65 million years ago,” said Mark A. Norell, a dinosaur paleontologist, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.