Feathers in Dinosaurs: Evidence from the Fossil Record

Fossil Record Evidence: Dinosaurs’ Feathers

Long-established fossil evidence has suggested that feathered dinosaurs existed. Researchers have recently discovered a Triassic-Jurassic plant-eating dinosaur that was covered in feathers. This suggests that feathered dinosaurs may be common. Although this is an intriguing argument, one should approach it with care. There is evidence in the fossil record that feathers are present in some dinosaurs. The fossil record, such as the 1996 discovery in China of Sinosauropteryx Prima, showed that feathers were present in some non-avian dinosaurs. (Xu et. al., 2019,). Further confirmation of the existence of feathers within some dinosaurs was made by Chiappe et. al. (2015)’s discovery in 2015 of a feathered Tyrannosaurus redux. But, there is not enough fossil evidence to prove that feathered dinosaurs existed. As Chiappe et al. (2015) noted, “evidence for the presence of feathers in non-avian theropods is limited.” Feathering may have evolved at different rates in different dinosaur species and only some may have developed them. It is possible that not all dinosaur species preserved feathers. This makes it hard to draw precise conclusions.

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