Monday July 22, 2019

Researchers discover a perfectly preserved Dinosaur Tail in a piece of amber in Myanmar

The tail, which is about 99 million years old, appears to be brown on the top and white underneath

A dinosaur's tail preserved in amber was discovered in Myanmar. VOA

December 9, 2016: Researchers have discovered a perfectly preserved dinosaur tail in a piece of amber in Myanmar.

The find could help researchers better figure out how the giant creatures actually looked before they became extinct some 160 million years ago. This particular dinosaur was feathered and about the size of a small bird.

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The tail, which is about 99 million years old, appears to be brown on the top and white underneath.

The amber piece already was slated to become jewelry, as it also contains well preserved plant material. However, on closer inspection, the tail was apparent.

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“We can be sure of the source because the vertebrae are not fused into a rod or pygostyle as in modern birds and their closest relatives,” said co-author Ryan McKellar, of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada in an interview with the BBC. “Instead, the tail is long and flexible, with keels of feathers running down each side.”

On one portion of the amber, the tail is exposed, allowing chemists to analyze it. They found traces of ferrous iron, a leftover of blood. He added that the dinosaur likely was still filled with fluid when it was trapped in the resin that eventually became amber. That suggests the creature may have been alive when trapped.

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The discovery is expected to shed light on how the feathers of dinosaurs formed and evolved. The feathers on this sample lack a central shaft found in today’s feathers.

The tail was described in depth in the journal Current Biology. (VOA)

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Report: Conditions in Myanmar Not Safe for Return of Rohingya Refugees

Myanmar has presented Bangladesh with a list of more than 1,200 verified displaced persons who repeatedly expressed their desire to return, he said

rohingya refugees
FILE - Rohingya Muslims, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, wait in queues to receive aid at Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh, Nov. 15, 2017. VOA

Conditions in Myanmar are far too dangerous for the safe, dignified return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to escape violence and persecution in their home country, according to a report by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

More than 730,000 Rohingya refugees are living in squalid, overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar.  While conditions in Bangladesh remain dire, U.N. officials say the situation in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state is worse and far more threatening.

U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore presented the report to the U.N. council. She says Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine state face serious discrimination, and continuous, systematic violations of their fundamental rights and freedoms.

“We continue to receive and can verify reports from a variety of sources, including reports on sexual and gender-based violence, that human rights violations continue, allegedly committed by members of the security forces,” Gilmore said. “The conditions conducive for refugee return simply do not exist.”

Rohingya refugees
Rohingya Muslims, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, wade past a waterlogged path leading to the Jamtoli refugee camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh. VOA

Security forces attacked and burned Rohingya homes and shops in several townships in May, Gilmore reported. She said her office has received reports of disappearances, and of people being subjected to torture and other forms of abuse in detention.

In addition, she said, Rohingya Muslims are denied basic services to health, education and jobs, and many have been stripped of their property and identity papers, essentially rendering them stateless.

Gilmore called on the Myanmar government to reverse this situation and to end the statelessness of the Rohingya. She said it is unlikely the refugees will return to their place of origin until their citizenship status is recognized.

Reaction in Myanmar

Myanmar’s Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Kyaw Moe Tun, says human rights awareness is promoted throughout his country. He called the U.N. report misleading, incomplete and full of unverified allegations that distort the truth.

Rohingya refugees
Displaced Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine. Wikimedia Commons

The repatriation process must begin as soon as possible to resolve the humanitarian situation, he said, adding that Myanmar has been ready to receive people since January 2018, when his country and Bangladesh signed a repatriation agreement.

ALSO READ: Cutoff of Internet Service at Rakhine, Chin States Creates Difficulty for Civilians who Cannot Access Donors Online to Make Aid Requests

Myanmar has presented Bangladesh with a list of more than 1,200 verified displaced persons who repeatedly expressed their desire to return, he said.

Earlier this year, Bangladesh’s Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque told the U.N. Security Council “not a single Rohingya has volunteered to return to Rakhine due to the absence of conducive environment there.” (VOA)