Dinosaurs Connections

The Search For the Missing Link

What do the Sinosauropteryx and other similar dinosaurs tell us about the evolution of feathers?

The protofeathers like the ones on the Sinosauropteryx appear to be covered with hollow filaments. These may have been the forerunners of bird feathers; or, as some scientists believe, feathers used for insulation, not the precursors to flight. Dinosaurs like the Sinosauropteryx, other similar dinosaurs, and fossil feathers from the same period, give scientists a better idea about the evolution of feathers. In particular, it is thought that feathers evolved rapidly in terms of geologic time. Feathers possessed properties that were highly advantageous to survival; they gave the animals an aerodynamic body and provided insulation for warmth, two features needed to survive a tough, predator-ridden world.


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