posted on Sep, 15 2011 @ 07:14 PM
University of Alberta paleontologist have found protofeathers beautifully preserved in amber. They are so well preserved that they can even tell the
color, namely deep brown, dark gray, or black.
Here's what the protofeathers look like:
The primitive, hair-like feathers known as protofeathers likely belonged to theropods — dinosaurs similar to tiny Tyrannosaurus rexes — that
roamed the swampy forests of Alberta 80 million years ago, said Alexander P. Wolfe, a University of Alberta earth sciences professor who co-authored
the research published Thursday in Science.
The feathers appear to resemble the protofeathers found in Chinese fossils like those of a Raptor, also a therapod, below:
Some paleontologists are saying the protofeathers may have been used to keep the animals warm. This could prove feathers evolved first for protection
and flight evolved later.
Others disagree, saying that they:
noticed that some of the feathers resemble those found on modern birds, complete with barbs sporting tiny Velcro-like hooks that lock onto
adjacent barbs to create a sturdy flight surface. Some of these fragments likely came from a flight-capable bird.
The most famous bird fossil is almost twice as old:
The oldest bird, Archaeopteryx, lived in what is now Germany about 150 million years ago, and the oldest known feathered dinosaur, Anchiornis
huxleyi, lived in northeastern China between 151 million and 161 million years ago.
This leads others to believe that animals with protofeathers may be "something completely new".
Regardless, to me it looks like that not all dinosaurs died out, but some live on today as birds. Ostriches is one bird that comes to mind as being
dinosaur-like. Fortunately for us, there are no pigeons 30 feet tall still running around.