Feathered dinosaur with "squirrel" tail redefined scientists

Previous research has already been laid in the scientific community suggested that the feathers were widespread in the Cretaceous and Jurassic periods follow, despite the fact that it was found very few samples

"Probably all dinosaurs had feathers," - the scientists conclude.

Recently found a fossil of a dinosaur with a "squirrel" tail - the most primitive representative of the form of feathers, a new study. The find, which refers to the upper Jurassic period, according to the study authors, challenges the generally accepted view that the dinosaurs - is "overgrown lizards».

Recently, in the course of excavations in Germany in one of the Bavarian limestone quarry was found well-preserved fossils, about 150 million years. Dinosaurs once gave the name Sciurumimus albersdoerferi, «Scirius» - a scientific term, which is usually referred to as tree squirrels.

Photographer: H. Tishlinger / Jura Museum Eichstätt

Sciurumimus, most likely, was very young megalosaur (a group of large, bipedal carnivorous dinosaurs that were widespread in Europe, and are the first dinosaurs found on Earth). It is assumed that a young dinosaur newly hatched; he had a large skull, short hind legs and hairy tail across the back and tail.

"I was amazed when I first saw it. Not even counting the remaining feathers, it is certainly one of the most beautiful dinosaur fossils, what I've seen, "- said the head of research Rohut Oliver, a paleontologist at the Bavarian State Museum of Paleontology and Geology in Germany.

Goodbye, overgrown lizard?

Previously, paleontologists have found fossil feathers only on coelurosaurs (koelurozavrov) - similar to birds dinosaurs that evolved much later than megalosaur such as Sciurumimus.

As found Sciurumimus has no direct connection with coelurosaurs, researchers ventured to suggest that feathered dinosaurs were normal, not the exception, said Rohut.

"Probably all dinosaurs were feathered, - he added. - And we have to say "goodbye" to this theory of overgrown lizards. The results of studies not related to ours, suggest that this theory is not viable ».

Previous research has already been laid in the scientific community suggested that the feathers were widespread in the Cretaceous and Jurassic periods subsequent (prehistoric), despite the fact that it was found very few samples, said Corwin Sullivan, a paleontologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

"Winged dinosaurs are very rare archaeological finds, as" we find them only in areas where environmental conditions allow the feathers preserved as well as preserved skeletal remains, "- said Sullivan.

Sciurumimus albersdoerferi (photographer: H. Tishlinger / Jura Museum Eichstätt)

Where did the dinosaur feathers?

More interestingly, according to Sullivan, what Sciurumimus, albeit distantly, but allows you to understand how dinosaurs developed feathers.

Until now, scientists were not sure whether the feathers of any species of dinosaurs, except coelurosaurs. But Sciurumimus - it is "the first clear evidence" that preceded feathers known to us dinosaurs, like birds, Sullivan said.

In addition carnivorous dinosaurs, hairlike feathers were also two species of dinosaurs, birds with completely different pedigree.

According to the study authors, suggests that the common ancestor of dinosaurs had feathers, who passed this trait of each branch of a family tree of dinosaurs.

"I would say that it is - a clear probability, not an obvious conclusion," - says Sullivan.

Although feathers dinosaur-bird similar in appearance and plumage Sciurumimus primitive coelurosaurs, it is still possible that this feature - independence, not inherited from a common ancestor.

"We paleontologists need more samples for analysis. We need more fossils of various kinds to make a final conclusion ", - concluded Sullivan.

The study dinosaur squirrel tail published in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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