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Wing of the feathered dinosaur Anchiornis

Fleshing out our understanding of feathered dinosaurs

Life and Planetary Evolution | March 6, 2017

The Late Jurassic feathered dinosaur Anchiornis had bird-like arms, legs, tail and footpads, shows a study published in Nature Communications this week by Dr. Michael Pittman (DES), Prof. Wang Xiaoli of Linyi University (Shandong, China) and their colleagues. The new body-shape reconstruction is based directly on soft-tissue evidence that has previously been difficult to detect and was made possible by laser-stimulated fluorescence (LSF) imaging. Their work revealed that Anchiornis, which was alive 160 million years ago, already had many of the characteristics of modern birds such as drumstick-shaped legs, but also possessed primitive features such as a simpler wing feather arrangement.

You can watch a video summary here. Selected media coverage can be viewed here and here.