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Lauren Helton ([personal profile] dino_a_day) wrote2014-07-28 03:03 pm

Kulindadromeus - Dinofuzz - 54

I return from an extended break with a quick drawing of Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus. Discovered in 2010 in Russia, this species was finally published just a few days ago, and what it reveals is something many paleontologists have long suspected but, until recently, were unable to provide concrete evidence for. Kulindadromeus is a primitive neornithiscian herbivore from the Jurassic period which sports a coat of shaggy protofeathers, or "dinofuzz" as it has been nicknamed, similar to that of later theropods. These feathers cover the animal's entire body except for its hands, feet, and tail. A small handful of other ornithiscians had quills, as we have seen, or other feather-like filaments, but the latest find clearly demonstrates that since early ornithiscians had what are most definitely feathers of similar structure to the feathers some theropods had, feathers evolved early on in the dinosaur family tree and appear to have evolved once, not multiple times. Most likely, many dinosaurs, if not all, had feathers at some stage in their lives. What's more, this find lends credence to the hypothesis that feathers originally evolved even earlier in archosaurs, and that the fuzz on pterosaurs comes from the same evolutionary line.