Did you know it was possible that a great many, maybe even most, non-avian (or unable to fly to you and I!) dinosaurs had feathers or something similar that made up part of their exterior covering?
According to the records of fossils, birds and their feathers have been on Earth since the Jurassic Period. Many palaeontologists consider the oldest known bird to be Archaeopteryx lithographica, which lived about 150 million years ago. We aren’t 100% certain that the Archaeopteryx could fly, but the primitive bird definitely had feathers – in fact, you can see their impressions surrounding its fossilized bones! Archaeopteryx also had a wishbone, just like today’s birds, while displaying some physical features that were more like reptiles, like a set of teeth and a bony tail.
The possibility that dinosaurs are closely related to birds raised the possibility of feathers. fossils of Archaeopteryx include well-preserved feathers, but it was not until the early 1990s that clearly non-bird dinosaur fossils were discovered with preserved feathers. About 40 genera of theropods are now known to be feathered.
This might come as a surprise, but even the Velociraptor had feathers!
Although they were feathered, this does not mean they were flying dinosaurs. There are many other uses for them, however, including keeping the dinosaurs warm or helping to streamline their running. Many believe that the feathers were brightly coloured and used for mating displays (or to get the attention of another attractive dinosaur!)
One of the coolest things about dinosaurs is that there is always more to know…! There will always be mystery. All we can do is keep our eyes open to the fossil clues which are constantly being unearthed.
Interested in Dinosaurs? Looking for things to do in Leicester but not sure of any fun things to do in Leicester? Come and join us with the kids to see our live Dinosaur show in Leicester at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre! Book your tickets online now and cross of things to do in Leicester with children from your list.