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99-million-year-old wings found frozen in amber

A recent discovery reveals that prehistoric plumage was remarkably similar to the feathers found on modern birds. Dinosaurs? More like 6-foot turkeys.

Close-ups of the amber.
Nature Communications

The structure of 100-million-year old wings found fossilized in amber in Myanmar is closing the gap between dinosaurs and birds. A study of the wings published in Nature Communications on Tuesday points to the fossil most likely belonging to a type of avian dinosaur that became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period, more than 65 million years ago.

More impressively, the wings revealed that the plumage of those prehistoric feathered animals was very similar to modern birds. Prior to this study, most of the information scientists had about feathered dinosaurs came from imprints in fossils or individual feathers in amber.

These wings are the first to be found relatively intact and have helped to close gaps in the fossil record.