Feathered Dinosaurs Were Probably Fuzzier Than We Thought

A new study reveals details about the feathers of some bird-like dinosaurs.

By Samantha Cole | MOTHERBOARD

Look at this fluffy dinosaur, with its fuzzy arms and felted face, holding a smirking expression that says, I am so shaggy and pleased about it.

It’s paleoartist Rebecca Gelernter’s interpretation of how Anchiornis, a small, bird-like paravian dinosaur from the Jurassic period, looked when it lived some 150 million years ago. It’s challenging what scientists know about feathered dinosaurs from that era.

New research led by the University of Bristol suggests that some feathered dinosaurs, like Anchiornis and Velociraptor, were more fuzzy than sleek: Think fluffy kiwi bird instead of smooth hawk. Rather than the “zipped” feathers of modern birds, its plumage was likely composed of short quills with long, flexible barbs that stuck out in V-shapes. Longer feathers sprouted from its legs, arms, and tail, helping it glide.

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