Feathers grew differently on dinosaurs and birds

A fossil of a fierce little Chinese dinosaur dubbed the “dancing dragon” that lived 120 million years ago is showing scientists that feathers grew differently on dinosaurs than on birds.

Wulong’s fossil, unearthed in Liaoning Province in northeastern China, includes a complete skeleton as well as soft tissues like feathers rarely preserved in such detail. At the end of its long, bony tail — fused into a stiff rod —were two very long feathers.

“Here is an animal that has all kinds of signals of being a juvenile, outside its bones, inside its bones, in its joints,” said San Diego Natural History Museum paleontologist, and study author, Ashley Poust. “And it has long, isolated plumes extending from its already-very-long tail. This is quite different from living birds and tells us that these decorative feathers preceded adulthood in dinosaurs. ”

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 7:04:48 PM |

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