Part of PalaeoLab's collection includes two thousand pieces of one-million year old Madagascan copal amber, which pupils and teachers regularly search through for signs of dead minibeasts from the stone-age, including mosquitos, beetles, mites, wasps and spiders.
With many of the classes with whom we've worked recently, we've talked about the AMAZING discovery of what is believed to be a.... dinosaur tail! It's from 99-million year old amber, bought from a Chinese marketplace and studied by a team of international scientists. It is likely from a non-bird theropod dinosaur, not unlike velociraptor (though much tinier!).
"This is possibly the coolest dinosaur discovery of the modern age," says Jules. A lot. To anyone who'll listen.
Here are the pictures, used with credits. Here is the link to the original research paper.
Photograph: Royal Saskatchewan Museum/R.C. McKellar
Hairy feathers! (A bit like ancient bird groups that include ostrich and emu!). Photograph: RSM/ R.C. McKellar
Reconstruction of the soft tissue in amber, using a synchrotron x-ray micro-CT scan). Photograph: Lida Xing
This is an illustration of our small dinosaur approaching a resin-coated branch on the forest floor. Illustration: Chung-tat Cheung
Don't forget about PalaeoLab's hands-on evolution workshops for primary schools in the UK, and further resources, including fossil subscriptions and other gift ideas, in the PalaeoLab shop.