99 million-year-old rare fossil to feature at Taichung amber exhibit

03/05/2022 05:38 PM
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An amber from Myanmar that experts believe to contain dinosaur remains. Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Natural Science
An amber from Myanmar that experts believe to contain dinosaur remains. Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Natural Science

Taichung, March 5 (CNA) Visitors to Taichung's National Museum of Natural Science will soon be able to see a rare fossil specimen from Myanmar dating back to around 99 million years ago at an amber exhibition at the museum, which starts at the end of April.

Entombed in the amber - also known as fossil resin - are preserved skin and feathers that experts believe are likely to be dinosaur remains.

According to Yang Tzu-ruei (楊子睿), an assistant researcher in geology at the museum, the feathers of modern birds have solid shafts, while hollow feather shafts, such as those found on the fossilized feathers, are more commonly found on dinosaurs.

He also said that the amber was uncovered in a location in Myanmar that experts believe was once a lagoon.

Due to the proximity of lagoons to both land and the sea, Yang said that it is reasonable for such locations to contain prehistoric fossils from both aquatic and land animals.

Two other ambers that were uncovered in eastern Taiwan, each only slightly bigger than a NT$1 coin, will also be featured at the exhibition.

Both of the amber specimens are also encased in rock, which, following chemical analysis by experts, are believed to have formed from resin that came from a tree which no longer exists in Taiwan, belonging to a line in the dipterocarpaceae family.

Amber specimens from resin that came from a tree which no longer exists in Taiwan. Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Natural Science
Amber specimens from resin that came from a tree which no longer exists in Taiwan. Photo courtesy of the National Museum of Natural Science

The ambers were unveiled Thursday at a press conference as a warm-up to the exhibition, where various fossilized tree resin specimens containing preserved feathers, skin samples, and parasites will be displayed.

On Thursday, the museum also signed a memorandum of understanding with Keelung's National Taiwan Ocean University. According to the MOU, both academic entities will work together in the future to exchange research power and artifacts, as well as help construct another hall in the museum to exhibit minerals.

(By Chao Li-yen and James Lo)

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