During the Jurassic period, some feathered dinosaurs — including the 160-million-year-old, crow-size Anchiornis huxleyi — were downright fluffy, unlike many of their sleek, modern bird relatives, a new study finds.
The finding shows that the feathers of Anchiornis, and another feathered dinosaur known as Sinosauropteryx, were simpler — and fluffier — than previously thought. Moreover, the dinosaur fossils in the study indicate that modern wings and feathers likely developed later along the evolutionary timeline than researchers had assumed.
“Overall, it does suggest that truly modern feathers and wings could have evolved later in time or in extinct bird lineages more closely related to modern birds than we might have expected,” Evan Saitta, a paleontologist at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, who conducted the research, told Live Science.
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