Oldest bird-like dinosaur

Feathered Ancestor
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
"Feather-covered dinosaur fossils found"


  1. Wait, where are the intermediates between Archaeopteryx and this? What about the ones between this and a penguin?

    This new fossil is just more evidence against evolution because it creates even more gaps? Oh noes!

    Srsly though, beautiful find.

  2. I’ve always wondered about artist conceptions of dinosaurs. Generally, how accurate do paleontologists think they are? I mean, how does anybody know that the dino had brown and white feathers? How’d the artist know that the comb was red, and not purple or blue?

  3. @Grimc (#3)

    A lot of dinosaur colors are made up. Brown and green are popular because a lot of modern reptiles are brown or green. Other guesses as to light or dark pigmentation can be made based on heat regulation, but we don’t really know. Recent work has begun to shed some light on at least a small portion of dinosaur feather coloration, however:


  4. #3: Last I heard, colors are entirely speculative.

    I have fuzzy memories of one bit of skin or feather or something having turned up with enough trace elements in place that they took a stab at guessing what color it might have been, but I don’t know if that was for a dinosaur, something more recent, or if it was just a suggested course of action.

    Lacking some sort of evidence, taking a random guess based on extant birds from similar habitats and then getting creative is about the limits.

  5. #12, it doesn’t matter how many transitional fossils are found. Creationists are going to find something wrong with evolution not matter what.

  6. Daemon,

    No, that sounds too much like “rapture key”, and that’ll only encourage the Cretinists.
    Oops, I meant “Creationists.. I’m sure.

  7. @Marcelo #3

    Don’t be silly, fossils are just the Lard’s way of testing your faith. He obviously was drinking heavily the day he made this one and slipped it into the ground just for a giggle. Lizards with feathers…what a kidder!

  8. @teleny

    I think it’s kind of cute. Looks like a dancing American Indian.

    Strangely enough, I was dancing with an American Indian just last week…and she looked nothing like this critter.

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