Scientists in China have discovered the oldest dinosaur that had feathers. Thought to be between 1 to 11 million years older than the first known bird, the dinosaur, named Anchiornis huxley, was about 28 centimeters tall at its hip. From Science News:
Two types of feather adorn the creature, said (Xing) Xu, of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing. One kind, commonly referred to as “dino-fuzz,” resembles a frayed bundle of filaments. The other type, similar in overall structure to the feathers of modern-day birds, consists of small filaments that branch from a larger shaftlike filament.
The dino-fuzz decorates the creature’s head and neck. About two dozen of the shafted feathers adorn each forelimb, and a similar number embellish each lower leg and foot, the researchers report. Unlike most feathered dinosaurs described previously, which have the longest forelimb feathers near the tip of the limb, Anchiornis’ longest forelimb feathers are on the wrist, Xu said. Feathers on the legs and feet appear to have overlapped each other, creating aerodynamic surfaces that would have, in essence, given Anchiornis a wing on each of its four limbs
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