New fossils show dinosaurs had earliest feathers

Archaeopteryx: Its claim of having the first feathers may be over.
Archaeopteryx: Its claim of having the first feathers may be over.Courtesy Mark Ryan
Recently discovered fossils out of China add strong evidence to the theory that birds descended from dinosaurs. The fossil remains of a new feathered dinosaur, named Anchiornis huxleyi, were discovered in rock strata thought to be at least 10 million years older than that at Solnhofen, Germany. This is exciting news. Since the 19th century the quarries at Solnhofen have produced several skeletons of the feathered Archaeopteryx which has long been considered the first bird. But now it appears that feathers arose several millions of years before Archaeopteryx showed up in the fossil record. Professor Xu Xing of Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing reported his findings in the science journal Nature, and at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's annual convention being held this week at the University of Bristol in England.

More about Archaeopteryx
More about the bird-dinosaur connection

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