Friday, September 16, 2011

Not Quite My Greatest Wish...But Close

Ever since I was a kid my dearest wish has been to one day see a living dinosaur. Not likely to ever happen, but one thing my formal scientific education taught me, unlike the sadly skeptical majority, is that our planet still holds a lot of mysteries.

Even so, the second best thing has actually happened!

For the very first time in history the actual physical remains of dinosaurs can be seen by human eyes. Before all we had were fossilized bones, skin impressions, and tracks, but now we can see an actual organic fragment of theropod protofeathers--small dinosaurs related to Tyrannosaurus rex--preserved in amber.

Discovered in Alberta, these aren't mineralized remains like the other fossils--they are the real thing, a genuine part of the animal. For a passionate paleo-guy like me only the discovery of a live dinosaur could be more exciting!

(Many thanks to my old museum buddy, Paul, who graciously shared the news with me.)

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