Feathered Fossils Give Scaly Dinosaurs a Makeover
Plumage may have adorned even the earliest dinosaurs, long before flight.
Which came first, the feathers or the birds? Feathers first, scientists now say definitively. Yet this feathery revelation doesn't arise from discoveries of ancient birds, but of birds' ancestors—dinosaurs.
At a recent Berlin conference, scientists celebrated continuing revelations from the most famous feathered dinosaur, Archaeopteryx, in the city where the most complete specimen resides. Long considered the "first bird," it lived 150 million years ago and sparked the notion that birds are the living remnants of the dinosaur line, intriguing even Darwin.
But new finds have confirmed that feathers started long before Archaeopteryx first flapped its wings. (Related: "Archaeopteryx's Evolutionary Humiliation Continues.")
"I think that the common ancestor of dinosaurs probably had feathers and that all dinosaurs had some type of