The Feathered Dinosaur.

Found in China, this fossil is the best evidence to date that some dinosaurs had feathers. The impressions of feathers in the fine-grained rock are so clearly visible, it’s impossible to rationally deny their existence (but watch the you-know-who types try to anyway).

It’s a fossil of a Dromaeosaur, a small, duck-sized predator that lived 130,000,000 years ago. It will be on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York for an indeterminate time. (By that, I mean I can’t find out how long it’s going to be there!) After that, it is scheduled to be taken to Texas so a CAT scan can be used to create a 3-D image of the skeleton.

It’s believed that feathers provided insulation to retain body warmth before they conferred flight. These early feathers would not have provided lift (wrong shape) and early dinosaurs had solid bones and would have been too heavy to fly anyway.

Click here for even more photos of this amazing find.

I now have a reason to visit NYC this summer!

Opera, Symphonies, Broadway, Art Galleries famous throughout the world, Eight professional sports teams, thousands of music venues, and you figure now that they got the Duckasaurus, you’r gonna hit the Big Apple.



Well, a feathered dinosaur sure will give more weight to the Robert Bakker “birds evolved from dinosaurs” camp. (And the age of Eoraptor don’t hurt, neither.)

And what are we supposed to debate?

I’m not sure what tracer means about “the age of Eoraptor”. It was about 80 million years older than Archaeopterx, and wasn’t espeacially bird-like. And since this new dinosaur lived 15 million years after Archaeopteryx, it isn’t the ancestor of birds. Maybe an early flightless descendant of birds?

The evolution of birds? Evolution itself?

I put this post here to start a debate on either of those things.

Maybe it means that most dinosaurs had feathers? Or even all of them? Or that only small dinosaurs (young or adult) had feathers, since only they would have had problems retaining body heat. (I should not have to point out to anyone that feathers are good insulation and that small animals lose body heat faster than large ones.) Feathers decay after they are shed and after the animal dies, so it’s not unreasonable to believe that the feathers of other dinosaurs were not fossilized. Also, it depends on what type of soil the animal was buried in. As the article notes, the impressions of this animal’s feathers was preserved because of the very fine soil that covered the corpse. Coarse soil would not have done this.

I wonder if any of the dinosaurs in the upcoming Jurassic Park III will have feathers…?

I think that if Mankind’s Ancient Enemy, Satan–that Old Deceiver–can go to all the trouble of putting fossils in rocks in order to tempt wicked and sinful men into doubting the Inerrant WORD of GOD, he can certainly add a few feathers here and there, no?

Lego wrote:


The one family of Dinosauria that bears the closest resemblance to birds, structurally speaking, are the raptor-like dinosaurs. Thus, according to the most prevalent “birds evolved from dinosaurs” hypothesis, it was specifically a raptor-like dinosaur that birds evolved from. For a long time, this was a big sticking point, because the earliest raptor-like dinosaurs we had discovered dated from a mere 90 million years ago – too recent to have been the ancestors of Archaeopteryx.

Then, we found Eoraptor. This was a raptor-like dinosaur that lived much, much earlier. Early enough, in fact, to have been one of the possible ancestors for Archaeopteryx. This gave a whole lot more weight to the birds-evolved-from-dinosaurs camp.

“Raptor” is just part of the name. Eoraptor is one of the most primitive dinosaurs ever discovered- some experts say it isn’t even a true theropod (clade containing most predatory dinosaurs and birds). Your term ‘Raptor-like’ is either the Dromaeosauridae, Maniraptora, or Coelurosauria- none of these taxa include Eoraptor.

While all good remains of ‘raptor-like’ dinosaurs are Cretaceous, more fragmentary remains do go back to the middle Jurassic, before Archaeopteryx.

The vast majority of books I read are about the classification of dinosaurs. I know that Eoraptor is not really ‘raptor-like’, despite its raptory name.

D’OH! I’m gonna have to give the Discovery Channel a stern talkin’-to.

Heard somewhere that the family trees of some modern flightless birds like the ostrich may not have included any flying birds and may have split off from the dinosaurs separately from the more common types of birds - so in effect, ostriches would be more closely related to their dinosaur ancestors than robins, geese, etc.

I’d say they’re cousins. After all, ceolecanths (sp?) are living hundreds of millions of years after their “descendants”.

I would like to see a cite because I’m skeptical. What happened to their forelimbs? Raptors and archaeopterix had clawed forelimbs, but once wings became entirely specialized for flight, they would become useless and vestigal if a species stopped flying. We wouldn’t expect this to happen if dinosaurs with arms evolved directly into flightless birds.

sqweels wrote:

Sure does sound that way. I mean, this 130-Myear-ago dromaeosaur had feathers. Archaeopteryx – which lived, what, 145 Myears ago? – had feathers. All modern birds have feathers, but no modern reptiles do. The fact that any dinosaur species had feathers – particularly a species that came after Archaeopteryx – is good evidence that the critters which Archaeopteryx and all birds evolved from were in fact dinosaurs of some type. Perhaps closely related to this domaeosaur’s lineage.

Originally posted by Lego

**I dunno. Look at the picture from this website.

Wait a minute. I thought is was God who put all those fossils there to test the faithful.

Damn. It’s hard to tell those two apart sometimes.

Shall we take bets on whether the creationists will say it’s a bird and not really a dinosaur or that it’s a dinosaur and not really a bird (and the other dinosaurs just stuck the feathers on him with tar before they road him out of town on a rail.)?

jab1 wrote:

Hey hey … howza bout that! That website also says that Eoraptor had hollow bones – just like modern birds do!

Well, I’m convinced. If birds didn’t evolve from dinosaurs, then I’m a monkey’s uncle and Duane Gish is the greatest paleontologist that ever lived.

I thought the chinese bird dinosaur was Sinosopteryx(sp). This is what I remember from working at the ANS in Philadelphia. I have a video on it somewhere (it’s a NOVA or NGS video), but I mighta lent it to my friend’s kid.

Am I correct in assuming that Dromeosaur is a group of dinos and not a species?

You’re right. Here’s what U.C. Berkeley has to say about them:

They have yet to determine if it is a new species, according to the American Museum of Natural History.

Whatever its name, this new fossil is 130,000,000 years old, which would put it later than the Jurassic, into the early Cretaceous. It would not be the link between birds and dinosaurs.

Chinese Feathered Dinosaurs*

Sinosauropteryx A small predator, related to the ‘compies’ in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. It had a coat of small feathers.

Protarchaeoptryx had symmetrical arm feathers. Although it lived later than Archaeopteryx, it was more primitive.

Beipiaosaurus had longer feathers similar to Sinosauropteryx, with branching structures on the ends. The largest feathered dinosaur, it was an herbivore with big claws.

Caudipterx had symmetrical feathers on its arms, and a display of decorative feathers on the tail.

Microraptor was perhaps the smallest non-avian dinosaur. It was fuzzy and possibly lived in trees.

Sinornithosaurus A relative of Velociraptor. It had long arms, and features in the shoyulder simialr to flying birds. The new specimen may be a juvenile of this genus.

I revive this thread because two more fossils of apparently feathered dinosaurs have been unearthed in New Mexico.

Nothronychus, (pronounced ``no-thron-EYE-kus’’), was a biped that weighed about a ton, was 15 to 20 feet long and stood 10 to 12 feet tall. What’s truly odd about this animal is that while it was a therapod like Tyrannosaurus, it was a herbivore! However, carnivore-to-herbivore evolution has been observed before. (These animals lived concurrently with T-rex, in the Cretaceous period. They are neither ancestors nor descendants of T-rex but cousins, evolutionarily speaking.)

The other critter is a coelurosaur (pronounced ``suh-LOOR-oh-sawr’’) a bit more than seven feet long and three feet tall. It was a carnivore.

Unfortunately, no conclusive evidence of feathers was found on the fossils, but they are so similar to the ones previously found in China, paleontologists are confident in concluding these animals probably had feathers also.

Not that I particularly want to argue on either side of the Creation/Evolution debate, but can someone propose a sequence of events that could have resulted in useful wings developing as a gradual process?

i.e: the end result (flight) wasn’t predetermined in any way; Evolution didn’t ‘know’ where it was heading, so at each stage of development, the proto-wings must represent an advantage of some kind, even though they didn’t yet bestow the ability to fly.