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Dinosaur Feathers May Have Been More Common Than Originally Thought

Image: Dinosaur Feathers May Have Been More Common Than Originally Thought
In this handout provided by the Smithsonian Institution, an artist's redering depicts a previously unknown bird-like dinosaur. (Illustration courtesy Robert Walters/Smithsonian Institution via Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 25 Jul 2014 04:10 PM

Dinosaurs may have sported more feathers than scientists originally thought, and some are even debating whether most if not all had feathers.

A study of a new species of dinosaur discovered in Russia had feathers, and, added to other species discovered around the world since 1996, seems to indicate feathered dinosaurs may have been more common than previously considered, The New York Times said.

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Most feathered dinosaurs have been in a class known as theropods. But the new dinosaur, a Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, belongs to a group of herbivorous dinosaurs called Ornithischia.

“For the first time, we have found a dinosaur outside of the theropod lineage,” the new study’s first author, paleontologist Pascal Godefroit, told the Times. “This means that feathers probably existed in the common ancestors of both lineages. And all the descendants of this common ancestor potentially could have feathers as well.”

Despite some uncertainty in the scientific community about embracing the idea of many dinosaurs sporting feathers, Godefroit believes the evidence from the extensive Russian find was conclusive.

“I was really amazed when I saw this. We knew that some of the plant-eating ornithischian dinosaurs had simple bristles, and we couldn’t be sure whether these were the same kinds of structures as bird and theropod feathers,” Godefroit said in a press release about the study. “Our new find clinches it: all dinosaurs had feathers, or at least the potential to sprout feathers.”

"Some palaeontologists still pretend that dinosaurs are not ancestors of birds and that, in this case, it is impossible to find feathers in dinosaurs!" Godefroit told CTV News in an email.

Jordan Mallon, a paleontologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, told CTV indications are that dinosaur feathers don’t look like those on birds today and he doesn’t think people will embrace the idea of a feathered dinosaur.

"I know that the new 'Jurassic Park' movie that they’re making won’t feature feathered dinosaurs," he told CTV. "Which I think is kind of a shame."

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Dinosaurs may have sported more feathers than scientists originally thought, and some are even debating whether most if not all had feathers.
dinosaurs, feathers, common
357
2014-10-25
Friday, 25 Jul 2014 04:10 PM
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