Feather Fossils

Feathers are fairly durable structures, yet their occurrence as Mesozoic fossils is very rare. Usually, feathers are found in limestones, paper shales, or other finely grained and laminated sediments like those in Liaoning, China Davis amp Briggs 1995, Kellner 2002 . Feathers have also been found as inclusions in Mesozoic amber Schlee 1973, Grimaldi amp Case 1995 . However, in a few cases macro-fossil traces that suggest the presence of feathers have been discovered. Notably, a specimen of the...

What Are Dinosaurs

Theropods Timeline

Any discussion of feathered dinosaurs requires some definition of what dinosaurs are and how they relate to one another. Dinosaurs are a monophyletic group of archosaurs Bakker amp Galton 1974, Gauthier 1986, Novas 1996 . In a general phylogenetic sense, they are composed of two great groups, the ornithischians and the saurischians Figure 3 Sereno 1996 . Ornithischians include specialized herbivorous forms like stegosaurs, hadrosaurs the duck-bills , and ceratopsians e.g., Triceratops ....

Feathered Dinosaurs

Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024-5192 email Norell amnh.org, xu amnh.org Key Words feathers, China, Mesozoic, Cretaceous, birds Abstract Recent fossil discoveries from Early Cretaceous rocks of Liaoning Province, China, have provided a wealth of spectacular specimens. Included in these are the remains of several different kinds of small theropod dinosaurs, many of which are extremely closely related to modern birds. Unique preservation conditions...

Psittacosaurs And Pterosaursmuch Earlier Origins Of Integumentary Structures

It is interesting to note that some other dinosaurs and near dinosaur relatives have also been found with filamentous epidermal coverings. The best known of these is the pterosaur Sordes pilosos Sharov 1971 . Pterosaurs are flying reptiles that are extremely closely related to dinosaurs. However, the interpretation of an epidermal covering on these specimens has remained controversial, and some authors have suggested that the integument is actually internal structures called actinofibrels,...

Controversy

The discovery of nonavialan feathered dinosaurs represents the smoking gun in settling the debate about avian origins for an excellent review see Prum 2002, 2003 . Because this debate has been so heated, considerable controversy has surrounded the importance of these specimens. The issues surrounding the importance of these specimens center on two arguments they are fakes or the purported feathers are actually internal structures and not external integumentary structures. Almost right after the...

The Origin Of Feathers

Sihetun Liaoning Province

I remember well when the thought of the eye made me cold all over, but I have got over this stage of the complaint, and now small trifling particulars of structure often make me very uncomfortable. The sight of a feather in a Peacock s tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick. So said Charles Darwin 1887 referring to his contemplation of the evolution of feathers. Because feathers are such complex structures, are unique to a single and diverse group, and fulfill so many functions in avian...