Dinosaurs Had Feathers, New Fossil Discovery Shows

Wednesday, 04 Jul 2012 07:28 PM

By Patrick Hobin

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New studies are turning dinosaur knowledge on its head. Just last week scientists concluded they were warm-blooded and not cold-blooded as previously believed. Now a new fossil discovery indicates dinosaurs had feathers.

A Munich paleontologist, Oliver Rauhut, said that a 135-million-year-old fossil of a juvenile dinosaur found in Bavaria indicates "that all predatory dinosaurs had feathers,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

The fossil was found in the limestones of Bavaria, the same site where the first feathered dinosaur was discovered 150 years ago. "Everything we find these days shows just how deep in the family tree many characteristics of modern birds go, and just how bird-like these animals were," paleontologist Mark Norell of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, a co-author of the paper, told the Times.

"At this point, it will surprise no one if feather-like structures were present in the ancestors of all dinosaurs."

Last week, it was reported that a closer look at modern-day mammals has led scientists to conclude that dinosaurs were warm-blooded, in a finding that demolishes the main argument that the creatures were giant cold-blooded reptiles.

In a study that started as a way of learning more about the bones of mammals, researchers found that the same skeletal markings seen on dinosaurs also appeared on large ruminant animals, such as deer. Called lines of arrested growth or LAGs, the markers indicate rain and supply of food and water, rather than external temperature, according to the research published in the journal Nature.

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