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Flaky, Feathery Dinosaurs
[ Issue 163 Page 2 ] Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 07:31:42 Hongseok Lee Junior Staff Reporter leehong@kaist.ac.kr

Research shows that dinosaurs may not be like the scaly images shown in Jurassic Park, but were instead actually covered in feathers. Such research provided an insight into how early birds’ and dinosaurs’ integumentary system co-evolved with feathers. A research team from University College Cork in Ireland has discovered fossilized skin that suggest that they are from non-avian maniraptoran dinosaur genera Beipiaosaurus, Microraptor, and Sinornithosaurus.

The team examined specimens from the collections of the Institute for Vertebrate Palaeontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, China. The tissue chips of sizes ranging from 2 to 10 mm2 were removed from skin parts. They were then compared with the skin and muscle tissues of modern day birds. Though not exactly similar to modern day birds, common aspects between the species’ shedding of epidermal flakes provided understanding on how such species’ skin evolved to the metabolism of feathers.

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