Feathers in Dinosaurs: Evidence from the Fossil Record
The fossil record has long suggested that some dinosaurs had feathers. However, the recent discovery of a Triassic to Jurassic aged plant eating dinosaur covered in feathers has led researchers to suggest that perhaps all dinosaurs were feathered. This argument, while interesting, should be approached with caution. The fossil record provides evidence for the presence of feathers in some dinosaurs. For example, the discovery of Sinosauropteryx prima in China in 1996 showed the presence of feathers in non-avian dinosaurs (Xu et al., 2019). The discovery of a feathered Tyrannosaurus rex in 2015 further confirmed the presence of feathers in some dinosaurs (Chiappe et al., 2015). However, the fossil record does not provide enough evidence to suggest that all dinosaurs were feathered. As Chiappe et al. (2015) noted, “evidence for the presence of feathers in non-avian theropods is limited.” Feathering may have evolved at different rates in different dinosaur species and only some may have developed them. The fossil record may not have preserved the feathers in all species of dinosaurs, making it difficult to draw accurate conclusions. Cont…
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