Project 3403: M. Kundrát, T. H. Rich, J. Lindgren, P. Sjövall, P. Vickers-Rich, L. M. Chiappe, B. P. Kear. 2020. A polar dinosaur feather assemblage from Australia. Gondwana Research. 80:1-11.
Specimen: † Aves indet. (NMV/P:26059B)
View: Counterpart


Exceptionally preserved Mesozoic feathered dinosaur fossils (including birds) are famous, but recognized from only very few localities worldwide, and are especially rare in the Southern Hemisphere. Here we report an assemblage of non-avian and avian dinosaur feathers from an Early Cretaceous polar (over 70 degrees S) environment in what is now southeastern Australia. The recovered remains incorporate small (10–30 mm long) basal paravian-like tufted body feathers, open-vaned contour feathers, and asymmetrical bird-like wing feathers that possess high-angled barbs with possible remnants of barbicels — amongst the geologically oldest observed to date. Such morphological diversity augments scant skeletal evidence for a range of insulated non-avian theropods and birds inhabiting extreme southern high-latitude settings during the Mesozoic. Although some of these fossil feathers exhibit what may be residual patterning, most are uniformly toned and preserve rod-shaped microbodies, as well as densely-packed microbody imprints on the barbules that are structurally consistent with eumelanosomes. Geochemical analysis detected no identifiable residual biomolecules, which we suspect were lost via hydrolysis and oxidization during diagenesis and/or weathering. Nevertheless, an originally dark pigmentation can be reasonably inferred from these melanic traces, which in life might have facilitated crypsis, visual communication and thermoregulation in a cold polar habitat.

Read the article »

Article DOI: 10.1016/

Project DOI: 10.7934/P3403,
This project contains
  • 42 Media
  • 3 Folios
  • 3 Taxa
  • 8 Specimens
Total size of project's media files: 127.26M

Download Project SDD File
Currently Viewing:
MorphoBank Project 3403

    Authors' Institutions

    • Lund University

    • Monash University

    • University of Pavol Jozef Šafárik

    • Uppsala University

    • Museums Victoria

    • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

    • RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

    • Swinburne University of Technology


    member name taxa specimens media
    Benjamin Kear
    Project Administrator
    Martin Kundrat
    Full membership
    Thomas Rich
    Full membership
    Pat Vickers-Rich
    Full membership

    Project has no matrices defined.

    Project views

    type number of views Individual items viewed (where applicable)
    Total project views11933
    Project overview782
    Media views7570Media search (1080 views); M675622 (173 views); M675653 (151 views); M675615 (183 views); M675620 (165 views); M675630 (152 views); M675618 (166 views); M675621 (159 views); M675616 (172 views); M675648 (150 views); M675617 (150 views); M675619 (152 views); M675623 (142 views); M675624 (153 views); M675625 (162 views); M675626 (151 views); M675627 (155 views); M675628 (152 views); M675629 (176 views); M675631 (142 views); M675632 (153 views); M675633 (159 views); M675634 (156 views); M675635 (149 views); M675636 (147 views); M675637 (155 views); M675638 (159 views); M675639 (149 views); M675640 (187 views); M675641 (142 views); M675642 (148 views); M675643 (148 views); M675644 (160 views); M675645 (146 views); M675646 (158 views); M675649 (155 views); M675650 (141 views); M675651 (143 views); M675652 (146 views); M675654 (153 views); M675655 (141 views); M675656 (138 views); M675647 (151 views);
    Views for media list493
    Specimen list1473
    Taxon list818
    Folio views601Folio list (207 views); Koonwarra Fossil Bed feather images (127 views); Koonwarra Fossil Bed barbule and barbicel micrographs (127 views); Koonwarra Fossil Bed melanosome micrographs (140 views);

    Project downloads

    type number of downloads Individual items downloaded (where applicable)
    Total downloads from project148
    Media downloads45M675615 (1 download); M675620 (3 downloads); M675616 (1 download); M675617 (1 download); M675618 (2 downloads); M675619 (1 download); M675621 (1 download); M675622 (1 download); M675623 (1 download); M675624 (1 download); M675625 (1 download); M675626 (1 download); M675627 (1 download); M675628 (1 download); M675629 (1 download); M675630 (1 download); M675631 (1 download); M675632 (1 download); M675633 (1 download); M675634 (1 download); M675635 (1 download); M675636 (1 download); M675637 (1 download); M675638 (1 download); M675639 (1 download); M675640 (1 download); M675641 (1 download); M675642 (1 download); M675643 (1 download); M675644 (1 download); M675645 (1 download); M675646 (1 download); M675648 (1 download); M675649 (1 download); M675650 (1 download); M675651 (1 download); M675652 (1 download); M675653 (1 download); M675654 (1 download); M675655 (1 download); M675656 (1 download); M675647 (1 download);
    Project downloads103