Newly Discovered Feathered Dinosaur

Artist's reconstruction of Tianyulong confuciusi   Li-da Xing/LiveScience.com

Artist's reconstruction of Tianyulong confuciusi. Image by Li-da Xing/LiveScience.com

A  newly discovered dinosaur fossil with feathers suggests that plumage may go back to the origin of all dinosaurs more than 200 million years ago.  Feathers had previously been discovered only in the Saurischian group of dinosaurs.  Saurischian dinosaurs include the two-legged meat-eaters known as theropods  — such as Tyrannosaur and Velociraptor — thought to be the ancestors of modern birds.

The recent discovery of feathers is in a fossil from a 130-million-year-old Tianyulong confuciusi from China.   This dinosaur belongs to the mainly vegetarian Ornithischian group of dinosaurs which includes armored herbivores such as Triceratops and Stegosaurus.  For more information, see the article here.

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