Monday, January 12, 2009

Like My Feathers?

Zhao Chuang and Xing Lida
Like My Feathers?
A reconstruction of Beipiaosaurus shows how the dinosaur may have displayed its feathers. The fossil, found in China, suggests the earliest feathers were for display purposes only.

Earliest Feathers for Show, Not Flight
Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

Jan. 12, 2009 -- The world's first feathers probably had nothing to do with flight or staying warm but were instead for showy display purposes, according to a new study that documents the most primitive known version of feathers, which were found on a Chinese dinosaur.

The dinosaur, Beipiaosaurus, sported the likely colorful feathers on its limbs, trunk, tail, head and neck, with the neck feathers resembling a lion's mane.

Paleontologists now believe feathers evolved very early in archosaurs, the group that included dinosaurs, pterosaurs and relatives of crocodiles, in addition to today's modern birds, crocodiles and alligators.

"Our analysis suggests that feathers might have a much longer history than previously thought," lead author Xing Xu told Discovery News.

Story and picture courtesy of Discovery News @

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