Laser technique sheds light on dinosaur fossils

A technique using high-powered lasers to reveal hidden soft tissue alongside bones in fossils is allowing scientists to better study small feathered dinosaurs similar to birds, a Hong Kong paleontologist revealed on Wednesday (March 1).

The technique—called laser-stimulated fluorescence (LSF)—involves sweeping laser light across a specimen, which highlights otherwise invisible details on objects.

At a news conference, University of Hong Kong Dr. Michael Pittman said he and his team worked on fossils of the chicken-sized, feathered, bird-like dinosaur Anchiornis that lived in China about 160 million years ago.

They found it possessed drumstick-shaped legs, arms similar to the wings of some modern gliding and soaring birds, and a long, slender tail. It boasts numerous skeletal and soft tissue characteristics found in birds.

“What it is, is it has skin in front of its elbow called the propatagium. This feature is crucial in modern birds that fly because without it they couldn’t. So we have this kind of shallow morphology, this shallow shape, which is reminiscent of modern gliding and soaring birds,” Pittman said.

However, it is unclear whether Anchiornis was airborne.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, produced the first highly detailed body outline of such a feathered dinosaur, a landmark in understanding avian origins.

It is believed Anchiornis was covered in feathers resembling those of modern birds. It had foot scales like those of a chicken but lacked the bony breastbone, or sternum, and short tail skeletons found in modern birds. It had small, sharp teeth like those of the earliest birds, and may have eaten small animals like lizards.

(Reuters)

 
 
 
 
 

Barcelona Police Killed 5 Suspects, Terror Cell Behind Wave of Attacks

Barcelona Police Killed 5 Suspects, Terror Cell Behind Wave of Attacks
BARCELONA - Spanish police shot dead five would-be attackers after confronting them early on Friday in a town south ...
READ MORE >
 

12 Killed, 80 Hospitalized, ISIS Takes Responsibility For Spain Attack

12 Killed, 80 Hospitalized, ISIS Takes Responsibility For Spain Attack
BARCELONA, Spain— The Latest on the van that ran into a crowd in Barcelona's Las Ramblas district (all ...
READ MORE >
 

Bannon Says Economic War With China ‘Is Everything,’ White Nationalists Are ‘Clowns’

Bannon Says Economic War With China ‘Is Everything,’ White Nationalists Are ‘Clowns’
White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon gave a surprise interview on Tuesday, condemning white supremacists and expressing his concerns about the ...
READ MORE >
 
US

Sessions Blasts Sanctuary Cities for Aiding Criminals

Sessions Blasts Sanctuary Cities for Aiding Criminals
President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated their stance against sanctuary cities this week, calling them ...
READ MORE >
 

China Takes Back Its Panda, in Secret Soft Power Plot

China Takes Back Its Panda, in Secret Soft Power Plot
We've watched the Chinese panda, Bao Bao, go from an adorable cub to a full grown adult. But ...
READ MORE >