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CNN:Vhinese unravel origin of Birds' Feather



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Chinese Unravel Origin of Birds' Feather (2)
Xinhua   27-MAY-99

At the end of last year, Xu and his two colleagues Tang Zhilu and Wang
Xiaolin, co-authors of the Nature essay, stumbled upon the fossilized
new type of dinosaur which was named Beipiaosaurus and dated back some
124 million years ago. 

"Such structures have not been preserved with any other theropods until
the discovery of Beipiaosaurus," Xu wrote in Nature article. 

"Most integumentary filaments are about 50 mm in length, although the
longest is up to 70 mm," he said. "Some have indications of branching
distal ends." 

Xu ascertained that the structures are primitive feather. The
30-year-old dinosaur specialist suggested that such feather-like
structures have a broad distribution among non-avian theropods, and
supports the hypothesis that filamentous integumentary structures may be
homologous to the feather of birds. 

Chinese experts have discovered four kinds of theropods with feather in
Beipiao County, a hotbed of extinct animal and plant fossils. 

The volcano-rich region of Beipiao has revealed at least four complete
sets of feathered theropods, which have rarely been seen in other place
in China or anywhere else. 

Xu and other researchers are focusing on the histological and
physiological study of these fossilized creature. 

Nature and the National Geographic of the United States have published
several reports and articles on feathered dinosaurs. 
-- 
Flying Goat Graphics
http://www.flyinggoat.com
(Society of Vertebrate Paleontology member)
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