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Science

Researchers Unearth Largest Feathered Dinosaur 58

Posted by samzenpus
from the really-big-bird dept.
sciencehabit writes "Paleontologists have unearthed fossils of the largest feathered creature yet known, a 1.4-metric ton dinosaur that was an early cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex. The long, filament-like feathers preserved with three relatively complete skeletons of the newly described species provide direct evidence of extensively feathered gigantic dinosaurs. The discovery is controversial—and in some scientific circles, largely unexpected."
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Researchers Unearth Largest Feathered Dinosaur

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  • by jd (1658) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <kapimi>> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @07:46PM (#39580175) Homepage Journal

    It is likely that in some dinosaurs that both were present. In other cases, it may be that feathers were present first, then scales replaced them when shed - like adult teeth replace milk teeth. Also, because it's the same gene, a change in environmental conditions may cause feathers to appear in dinosaurs in which they would not otherwise do so -- once the mutations necessary have arisen, of course. One case study is proof that the mutations existed at that time and is a strong indication that feathered dinos existed prior to that time, but we've insufficient evidence to say definitely if this was a feathered dino in the general case, only the specific case.

  • Re:More Evidence... (Score:5, Informative)

    by sysrammer (446839) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:20PM (#39580421) Homepage

    Feathers evolved as insulation. After millions of years, they and the critters they adorned evolved them into use for flight (along with diminished size, air-pockets in bones, etc).

  • Re:Wheres the pics? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Opyros (1153335) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @08:29PM (#39580481) Journal
    Here [discovermagazine.com] is an article with one photo of the skull, at least. And this [discovermagazine.com] one shows the scientists reassembling the fossil like a jigsaw puzzle (and has an interesting writeup in general).

The sooner all the animals are extinct, the sooner we'll find their money. - Ed Bluestone

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