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Thanks to Jeff for the write-up.
THey also say its claws show it could climb [snip] about as well as
I certainly can't disagree with that...
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From: Jeff Hecht <email@example.com>
To: Dinosaur mailing list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thu, 23 Oct 2008 7:25 am
My New Scientist story is on-line this morning at
Epidexipteryx is a fascinating critter. I've corresponded with the
wasn't able to get all the details into my story, so I'll add a few
This comes from the same fossil beds as Pedopenna ("feather foot") and
Epidendrosaurus, which are now radiometrically dated at 152-168 million
The geology is pretty complex, and I think the dates are still
but this definitely is an older fauna than the Jehol, and if the dating
probably is older than Archaeopteryx (with the caveat that
is not firmly dated on a radiometric scale).
So what we're seeing are little feathered dinosaurs, but nothing yet
feathers or true wings, in the sense they could be used for flight or
gliding. Obviously finding more fossils is very very important, and I'm
IVPP is working on that. Judging from what has come out so far, the
either is not as fossil-rich as the Jehol deposits or they haven't
mother lode of fossils.
Zhang et al say the tail is complete and its vertebrae differ from
Epidendrosaurus, supporting the idea the two are different. It would
be very nice to have more fossils to get growth sequences of the two.
very faint feather impressions on Epidendrosaurus, and downy feather
from the whole body of Epidexipteryx, not just on the shoulders where
clearest in the photos. Thus the downy covering on the reconstructions.
THey also say its claws show it could climb, probably about as well as
All of which leaves us with a diverse range of little feathered
closely related to birds running around the late Jurassic and early
The tail display feathers show internal structures somewhat similar to
significantly different from - flight feathers. So it looks like
experimenting with different forms of the things that eventually became
recognize as feathers. Maybe Alan Brush can weigh in with his
he has a chance to study the paper more carefully.
Anyway, it's a wonderful fossil, and I am looking forward to seeing
Jeff Hecht, science and technology writer
Boston Correspondent, New Scientist magazine
525 Auburn St., Auburndale, MA 02466 USA
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