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SV: Cretaceous feathers

A couple of more references:

Grimaldi, D. A. 1996. Captured in amber. Scientific American April

Grimaldi, D. A. & Case, G. R. 1995. A feather in amber from the Upper
Cretaceous of New Jersey. American Museum Novitates 3126:1-6.

A feather 7.5 mm long is reported here in amber from the lower
part of the Raritan Formation (Turonian, ca. 90-94 million years
old (myo)), of central New Jersey. It is probably a semiplume,
and is as yet unassigned to any group of birds. The specimen
represents the second record of a feather in Cretaceous amber,
and, like the first, is of interest because of the intricately
preserved detail and the phylogenetic significance of Cretaceous
birds. This is the oldest record of a bird from a terrestrial
deposit in North America, and presumably the oldest record of a
terrestrial bird. A brief review of fossil feathers is given,
including those in amber.

Knight, T. K., Bingham, P. S. & Schwimmer, D. R. 2004. The ingersoll
shale, an Upper Cretaceous konservat-lagerstÄtte in the Eutaw Formation
of eastcentral Alabama. Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of
America 36(2):109.

The Ingersoll shale lens, within the Eutaw Formation in Russell
Co., Alabama, contains unique preservation of soft-tissue fossils
along with a great diversity and abundance of Santonian age flora
and fauna. Both marine and terrestrial fossils, including plants
such as the angiosperm Manihotites georgiana and conifers of an
unknown species, are found preserved as carbon films. Among the
soft-bodied fossil preservations are: a theropod down feather
(possibly non-avian); a theropod feather with vein-forming
interlocking barbs, a feature suggesting it was used for flight;
insect wings (possibly neuropteran); and many small ammonite
aptychi assumed to be from Placenticeras benningi. The
carbonaceous Ingersoll shale lens is bracketed by light-colored,
non-carbonaceous sediments with a normal marine biota.
Exceptional preservation of organic matter within the Ingersoll
shale is attributed to sediment deposition in an anoxic
environment, which did not permit rapid breakdown of organic
matter. In addition to the anoxic conditions, the rate of
fine-grain sediment accumulation exceeded the rate of biological
decay, leaving the fossils well-preserved and intact. The quality
and completeness of the carbon films that constitute the fossils
indicate little bioturbation during or after deposition. Pyrite
nodules and sulphur-filled fractures within the shale are further
evidence of deposition within a reducing environment. This new
Konservat-Lagerstätte in the Upper Cretaceous offers a rare view
of soft-body fossils from the Santonian age that has not been
observed in other eastern USA sediments. No other theropod
feather fossils have been discovered in the Southeast, and
apparently within an Upper Cretaceous shale in the USA.

Shufeldt, R. W. 1897. On the Feathers of »Hesperornis». Nature (London)

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Ämne: Cretaceous feathers

Can someone out there jog my memory about feathers found in the Upper
Cretaceous of North America? Seems that I vaguely recall a paper on it,
but can't remember the author(s) or state.

Kenneth Carpenter, Ph.D.
Curator of Lower Vertebrate Paleontology & Chief Preparator
Department of Earth Sciences
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO 80205 USA

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