Sunday, September 23, 2007

Velociraptor Appears to Have Been Feathered

New skeletal evidence supports the bizarre theory that many dinosaurs were feathered. Recently, researchers found “quill knobs” similar to those of modern birds while studying the skeleton of a velociraptor, reports Voice of America.

Quill knobs are small structures on the bones of birds (and now, it appears, dinosaurs) where flight or wing feathers are attached. In the case of dinosaurs like velociraptor, the feathers were probably not flight feathers. One scientist suggests velociraptor feathers were used to “shield nests” or keep the creature warm. The feathers may have also been used “for show.” But I’m not sure what that means. What evolutionary purpose would that support? Mating ritual perhaps.

My favorite theory is the warmth one. Cold-blooded reptiles need a way to stay warm. And I think the prospect of a hairy velocirapor is even more strange than a feathered one. Actually, no. They’re both bizarre. Back to the cold-blooded part, since dinosaurs are looking more-and-more like birds, I wonder if they actually were cold blooded. I’ll have to research that and report back here someday.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.