D.Blawg Asks: Were Dinosaurs Cuter and Cuddlier than we Originally Thought???

I recently visited the Natural History Museum at the University of Michigan, where the assortment of displays come complete with a taxidermy-d Wolverine, a misinformed prehistoric mural and a number of dioramas that were clearly some proud grad. student’s crowning achievement while at Michigan … Anyway, a few of the faux dinosaur fossils on display were accompanied by colorful question marked boxes that had simple questions on the top and were supposed to have simple answers underneath, once you lifted them up.

One of the questions I came across was “What color were the dinosaurs?

and the answer: “We don’t know.

D.Blawg’s Response: Well that’s insightful.

Well, apparently that’s true. Although we have been able to collect a lot of information about dinosaurs from the fossils that have been discovered, a group of Chinese researchers recently proved that we still have no idea what really went down:

fuzzydinos

A discovery in China has prompted researchers to question the scaly image of dinosaurs.

Previously, experts thought the first feathered dinosaurs appeared about 150 million years ago, but the find suggests feathers evolved much earlier.

This has raised the question of whether many more of the creatures may have been covered with similar bristles, or “dino-fuzz”…

…He described the filaments seen on the body of the new dinosaur, which the team has named Tianyulong confuciusi, as “protofeathers” – the precursors of modern feathers.

“Their function was probably display, as well as to keep the body warm” he said. Dr You’s team noticed that the filaments on the base of their dinosaur’s tail were extremely long. These, they suggest, might have evolved for show, and may even have been coloured.

“The world of dinosaurs would [have been] more colourful and active than we previously imagined,” he said…

…Professor Lawrence Witmer, a paleontologist from Ohio University, says this “really muddies the waters” of what researchers know about the origin of feathers…And if they were covered in a fuzzy coat, what does that tell us about their physiology? Perhaps they were warm-blooded…

…We now need to think completely differently about the evidence we already have.”

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