Amber research, researcher holding amber

Amber research, researcher holding amber

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This image is part of the feature 21st Century Machine Shines Light Onto A Fossil World

Credit: PASCAL GOETGHELUCK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Amber research. Palaeontologist Paul Tafforeau, from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France, holding a dish containing amber. The 100-million-year-old amber (fossilised resin from prehistoric coniferous plants) contains remnants of prehistoric feathers that became trapped when the resin was sticky. The feathers may have originated from a primitive bird or a feathered dinosaur. In 2008, the amber was X-rayed at the ESRF. The ESRF X-rays are one thousand billion times more powerful than hospital X-rays. The amber was x-rayed at multiple angles to create virtual slices. These were reconstructed into a 3D computer model (see image E445/329).

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