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T. Rex Cousin Had Feathers!


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#1    darkknight

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 05:07 PM

New Dinosaur Discovered: T. Rex Cousin Had Feathers

A tiny, earlier cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex sported at least a partial coat of hairlike feathers, scientists reported today. The dinosaur chased prey and roamed the lakeside forests of Liaoning Province in northern China some 130 million years ago, researchers said.
Although predicted by several paleontologists, the discovery marks the first time featherlike structures have been directly observed on a tyrannosaurid. Tyrannosaurids are predominantly large dinosaurs with short forelimbs that roamed Earth 130 to 65 million years ago.

"It's the kind of thing we expected, but we thought we might never find a fossil that would justifiably show it," said Mark Norell, who co-authored a paper that describes the new species. The study appears tomorrow in the science journal Nature.

Norell, a curator and chair of the division of paleontology at New York's American Museum of Natural History, said the discovery supports theories that dinosaurs were birdlike, warm-blooded creatures that evolved feathers to stay warm—not to fly.

Researchers named the new dinosaur species Dilong paradoxus. Dilong derives from Mandarin words meaning "emperor" and "dragon." Paradoxus refers to the unusual feathers found on the 5-foot-long (1.5-meter-long) carnivore.

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source- news.nationalgeographic.com


#2    snuffypuffer

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 05:12 PM

wub.gif fuzzy cuddly dinosaurs!

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#3    micah-el

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Posted 23 December 2005 - 05:26 PM

lends more credence to dinos evolving into birds.

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#4    Kaizen

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Posted 24 December 2005 - 05:34 AM

Hmmmm..... interesting.  I'm not a big fan of the idea that dinosaurs had feathers.  But I guess I'll have to live with it.

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#5    Mike8272

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Posted 24 December 2005 - 02:27 PM

Dinios having feathers well if it happened then what the hey but it would help the theroy that dinos evolved into birds...


#6    draconic chronicler

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Posted 24 December 2005 - 02:54 PM

For the record, there has never been a true "feather" of the typical bird form found on a dinosaur.  This article described hair-like fibers, but nothing like "down" and regular feathers of modern birds or even archaeopteryx.  Pterosaurs were also covered with fibers, but are not claimed to be the ancestors of birds, but simply another kind of flying creatures, just as a bat is not a bird even though both fly.  

Biologists say feathers are a modified form of reptilian scales.  So it should be no surprise that some dinosaurs may have developed fiberous "scales" exactly like the pterosaurs did.  The bottom line is that only true birds and archaeopteryx have true feathers intended for flying creatures.  And what a lot of people don't understand is that during the time we have dinos with the hair-like "feather-scales", real, modern birds with normal feathers have already evolved.  This is a good example of people "barking up the wrong tree" to push evolutionary ideas even when they are not there.  This does not discredit evolution, it is just that the earliest ancestors of the modern birds have not been found.  They are definately NOT fringy scale covered raptorids, because by the time they existed, modern birds already existed.  The same is true of the new Chinese Tyrannosaurid.  There were already real birds by then!  Most artists and dino movies fail to put real birds in Cretacious scenes, but they were there right along with T-Rex and Triceratops.


#7    aquatus1

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Posted 24 December 2005 - 03:37 PM

Another exciting discovery that strengthens the connection between the T-Rex and the modern bird was the discovery of the soft tissue within the fossilized T-Rex thigh bone by Mary Schweitzer.  While almost all of the cellular components have been destroyed by the passage of time, there were still fragments that could be positively identified as medullary bone, which is a structure that serves as a quick calcium source for egglaying females.  Up until the discovery of medullary bone in the T-Rex fossil, the only place this structure was known to exist was in female birds.


#8    Kaizen

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Posted 25 December 2005 - 11:34 AM

I do believe birds evolved from dinosaurs.  There's too much evidence suggesting they did.  It's just that dinosaurs were always portrayed as scaly while I was growing up, and seeing them with feathers/down/fuzz is just... alien to me...

Sure birds coexisted with dinosaurs, but that doesn't mean that the ancestors of birds didn't evolve from early theropods.   Velociraptor, deinonychus, ect were probably other offshoots from bird ancestors.  Some scientists even consider velociraptor to be a primitive bird that lost the abillity to fly.

There have been other dinosaurs discovered with actual feathers other than true birds and archaeopteryx.  There was one even older that was discovered with feathers along the arms and tail like archaepteryx but they were symetrical and therefore not adapted for flight.  There was even a dinosaur discovered that had four wings (flight feathers on the hindlegs).




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#9    draconic chronicler

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Posted 25 December 2005 - 03:29 PM

The point is, most people when they hear these theories don't realize that a split with theopods would have occured so early that both raptors and protobirds would have looked more like tiny aboreal lizards at the time, NOT fully developed "late" dromaesaurids that somehow evolved into birds, when birds were already around millions of years.  This is why there are still some Phd paleontologists who still believe birds may have branched from an aboreal crocodilian due to certain, more similar bone structures largely in the limbs as I recall.  Here again, the early aboreal crocs looked much more like tree climbing lizards or dinosaurs than they do modern aquatic crocodilians.  That all three are archosaurs still makes this feasible though the cocodilian theory is becoming less and less popular as more dinosaurs are found with feather-like structures.   It may be that like some dinosaurs, some lightweight, tree=dwelling crocodilians may also be found twith feather-like structures, even if ultimately, these were dead end creatures that would never become birds.  It is very clear that none of the "feathered" dinos found already were the true bird ancestors.


#10    aquatus1

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Posted 25 December 2005 - 04:08 PM

I agree with most of that, although I would not necessarily rule out all the feather dinos as ancestors just yet (archeopteryx has been most definitively shown to be a dead-end, evolutionary wise, but not all the others, not yet, I don't think).

Evolution is so darn random that I really wouldn't be surprised that a fossil line with clear and steady progress towards the modern bird were suddenly cut short and a new line appeared and spontaneously (in the evolutionary sense of the word) caught up and became the modern-day bird in one fell swoop.


#11    ThunderBirds

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Posted 26 December 2005 - 03:47 AM

This is why I love birds! Birds evolved from dinosaurs, weeee!

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#12    Vidgange

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 08:02 AM

Quote


Biologists say feathers are a modified form of reptilian scales.  So it should be no surprise that some dinosaurs may have developed fiberous "scales" exactly like the pterosaurs did.  


Sorry to disapoint you DC, but that's what they used to think... I think that the common opinion now a-days is that feathers did not evolve sfrom scale. Scientist believed that for a very long time, but not anymore. I saw something on discovery about this and the findings of birdlike dinos... Can't remember but they said that feathers evolved from something else...

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#13    draconic chronicler

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Posted 27 December 2005 - 12:36 PM

Hmm, I believe they are both made of keratin, and both overlap, and some archosaurs have scales and some have feathers, and some have both!

I would not be surprised if some scientists claimed they didn't originate from scales just to get on TV.  Witness Horner.  For years he has been pushing the warm blooded dino theory to get attention, and now that people don't care anymore, to get in the limelite again he made the ridiculous assertion that T Rex was a pure. non hunting scavenger, to publish new articles and be on TV.  But here, to justify such a huge scavenger (which most scientists state is unfeasible), he had to back off of his warm blood theory and state it must have had the slower, cold blood reptilian metabolism.  You may remember this big T Rex as scavenger discussion on an old thread here.


#14    lkayn

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 10:15 PM

I just wanna know something. HOW do THEY KNOW the dino had feathers?


#15    frogfish

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 12:00 AM

Quote

I just wanna know something. HOW do THEY KNOW the dino had feathers?

On the fossil. Feathers leave imprints, and that fossilizes.

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