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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/25/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Feathers very common on dinosaurs, new study suggests

The discovery of several 150-million-year-old fossils in Siberia indicates that a majority of dinosaurs were either covered with feathers or had the potential to grow feathers, a new study suggests.

Most dinosaurs may have had feathers, a new study suggests.

Most dinosaurs may have had feathers, a new study suggests.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/25/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Science, Technology, International


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Until this study-published in the journal Science-feathered dinosaurs fossils came from China and a meat eating group of dinosaurs called theropods.

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This latest discovery from Russia, is from a completely separate group of herbivores called ornithischians, which made up about half of all dinosaurs.

The discovery shows that feathered dinosaurs existed millions of years before previously thought.

"It was a big surprise," said Dr. Pascal Godefroit of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels, Belgium, the leader of the research.

"The fact that feathers have now been discovered in two distinct groups, theropods in China and ornithischians in Russia means that the common ancestor of these species which might have existed 220 million years ago also probably had feathers."

The discovery has "completely changed our vision of dinosaurs", he added.

"Instead of thinking of dinosaurs as dry, scary scaly creatures a lot of them actually had a fluffy, downy covering like feathers on a chick," said co-researcher Dr Maria McNamara of Cork University in Ireland.

Even with this study, not all dinosaurs did have feathers notes Professor Mike Benton, of Bristol University, who was also a member of the research team.

"Our research doesn't mean that all dinosaurs had feathers, especially as adults," hr said.

"Some will have had feathers as young animals and kept them throughout their lives. Others may have lost feathers as they grew up, and became large enough not to need them, or replaced feathers with scales or relied on bony plates in the skin for protection."

"Feathers were used first for insulation and signaling; they only later became adapted for flight."

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