Artifacts & Documents: Artifacts

Fossil Showing Feathers and Scales

zoomable artifact image here

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A crack cuts right through what is believed to be the imprint of a dinosaur tail with scales on the underside and protofeathers on top, which can be seen between two footprints at the end of a much larger slab. A rachis, or stem, curves up from the toe of the lower footprint and goes past the crack in the rock to the right-hand digit of the upper footprint. Look closely along its length to see fine parallel lines of feathering. 

No one noticed the feather marks for years, until the tracks were moved to their current quarters at the Beneski Museum of Natural History in the Earth Sciences building, opened in 2006. With far better lighting on the specimens, paleontologists have been able to see them more clearly than in the past. The new museum literally threw a new light on the subject.

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Courtesy of:
Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College, photograph by Penny Leveritt