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This Laser Reconstruction of a Four-Winged Dinosaur Is Incredible

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Alex Blair

Using high-powered lasers, paleontologists have detected rare traces of soft tissue in the fossilized remains of Anchiornis—a four-winged dinosaur that lived during the late Jurassic period.

The findings are offering new insights into the origin of birds and the development of flight.

A research team led by Michael Pitman from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Hong Kong used an exciting new technique called laser-stimulated fluorescence LSF to reveal the delicate contours of soft tissue around the fossilized bones of a dinosaur called Anchiornis.

The new study, published today in Nature, is the first to show a highly accurate body outline of a feathered dinosaur, offering an unprecedented look at this 160 million-year-old creature.

Traces of soft tissue are rarely found in fossils, making it difficult for scientists to discern the exact shape of an extinct animal.

This often leads to imperfect results.

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