Thursday, 5 April 2012

A giant feathered dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Liaoning Province, China.

Recent years have seen the discovery of large numbers of feathered non-avian Theropod Dinosaurs, though most of these have been small in size. The 5 April edition of the journal Nature contains a paper by a team of scientists led by Xing Xu of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Key Laboratory of Evolutionary Systematics of Vertebrates at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, describing for the first time the discovery of feathers on a much larger Dinosaur.

The new Dinosaur, which has been named Yutyrannus huali ('beautiful feathered tyrant') is a Tyranosaurid from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of Liaoning Province, roughly 125 million years old, and is thought to have weighed up to 1.4 tonnes and to have reached 9 m in length; not the largest of Tyranosaurids, but much bigger than any feathered dinosaur discovered to date.

Reconstruction of Yutyrannus huali in life. The smaller dinosaurs to the left are Beipiaosaurus. Brian Choo/Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Yutyrannus huali is described from three specimens, an adult and two juveniles. Each of the specimens had feathers preserved on a different part of the body; the tail on the adult, a foot on one of the juveniles, the neck and upper fore-limb of the other. From this the researchers conclude that the living animals had feathers over much of their bodies.

The feathers were simple filaments, closer to the down of chicks than the feathers of an adult bird.

To date feathers have been found in only quite small dinosaurs and have been explained in three different ways; they could be used for flight (or at least gliding to some extent, a possibility for many small dinosaurs), they could be used as insulation, or they could be used for communication. Yutyrannus is clearly to large to have got airborne in even the most rudimentary attempt at flying. On the current data it is impossible to say if the feathers of Yutyrannus could have been used for communication. Recently there have been a number of breakthroughs in determining the colour of preserved feathers, so this is a possible avenue for future research. Larger Dinosaurs have generally been considered to have achieved thermal inertia by their size; able to maintain heat through their shear bulk (small animals have a large surface area compared to their mass, and consequently have difficulty maintaining their body temperature, for bigger animals the ratio decreases, and loosing heat can become a problem).

The temperature at Yixian is thought to have averaged 10°C over the course of the year. This is equivalent to a cool-temperate climate today, such as that of northern China, but would have been exceptionally cool for the Mesozoic, particularly as the temperature can be presumed to have fallen beneath this average for part of the year. This make the possibility that insulation was needed on Yutyrannus more than on other large Theropods. There is also the possibility that other large Theropods were also feathered, but that we have yet to discover evidence of this.

The skull (top) and part of the tail of Yutyrannus huali (bottom). Filaments are visible on the tail. Zang Hailong/Chinese Academy of Sciences.


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7 comments:

  1. no dinosaurs had feathers. protofeaters is not modern bird feathers.and protofeathers is collegan fiber were can find in dolphin and shark fossel and modern reptles fossel .its proven by scienctist who belief that bird are dinosaurs .dinosaurs are not birds they are crocodilians they are primtive crocodilian. they not special reptile . spinosaurus is the ancester of modern crocodilian only won are alive are aquatic dinosaurs the modern crocodilians.modern crocodilians did not come from crocodilian that turn into the dinosaurs they came from the dinosaurs. dinosaurs share more features with modern crocodilian than first crocodilian with the dot stuble skin only find in modern crocodilian and spinosaurus and bely skin. spinosaurus is the ancester of modern crocodilian is supported by the fossel record spinosaurs fossel record date 155 millon years ago first crocodilian aquatic lifestyle date 150 years ago .all dinosaurs was scalely and have armo on there backs all fossil skin all dinosaurs group bird hip dino lizard hip dino all find with fossil armo skin on there backs all dinosaurs look like carnotuarus a theropod dino which they find allmost complete fossil skin and it just look like a croc skin dinosaurs ancester tuatara can live in cold climate and aligator and crocodile lizard too. aligator you find in north carolina same sub tropical weather you find in dinosaurs time. if feathers is to keep warm why are most birds feet naked lot naked mammals live in cold climates too. maniratorian and raptors are birds not dinosaurs they have no links with theropods dinosaurs only the long tail there brain of flightless bird arm movenment is of bird inner ear of a bird jaw and teath is of bird raptor are link archaeoteryx and true bird with perch bird feet there is argentine fossel bird foot print date 210 million years time primtive theropod ceolophysis which had a fuse wish bone primetive reptile feature archaeoteryx is older than most chinese dinobird and velociraptor only won was older archaeoteryx had modern flight feathers that show that birds are older . protofeathers they find in dinosaur group alls show that find scale on the hands and tail in compsognathas and juravenator shows that just collagen fiber whole family was scaley .dinosaur has same evolution as tortoise and turtle they were ground animals could not climb trees and have armo on there backs. all modern reptile ARe close related and have same behavior and look the same . turtle is only won is not a daipsid probly is a daipsid tuartara have feature primtive than the turtle new science data says closely related to lizard . most lizard does not look like dinosaurs because they can climb trees .lizards dino look alike caiman lizard crocodile lizard iguana basilisk .if want to know what t.rex look like look at crocodile jurassic park got it wrong. dino bird is all hype over time it all proven wrong like fake chinese fake dinobird fossil . tyranosoids are true theropods all were scaley and related to allosaurus with croc brains and croc inner ears second biggest meat dinosaurs inner ears was more primtive. more closely relate primetive reptile is all so closely related allosaurus. allosaurus dinosaurs fossil skin had armo on there backs and spinosaurus and carnosaurus all are theropod. armo on the back fossil on dinosaurs are very common probly all were cold blooded .any way crodile lizard are found in china . snakes turtle are allso found in cold climates

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  2. ceolophysis did not have fuse wish bone i made a mistake that a primtive reptile feature and just saying it was not bird like more reptile like its a reptile. advance dinosaurs like t.rex allosaurus had fuse wish bone .ceolophysis is the ancester all advance theropod older theropod had heaveyer bones five fingers and toe like eoraptor femur is not fully in the hips very reptile like. if a animal have perching bird feet animal can fly. carnosaurus i mean carnotuarus.

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  3. tuatara look like dinosaurs too .i can not belief some sciencetist think protofeathers is feather. know won knows what profeathers look like we know what collegan fiber look like . real dinosaurs ancester is just under there nose the crocodilian . frist crocodilian could not even sprawl it had long legs was only land animals jaws look nothing like spinosaurs both fist crocodilian and dinosaurs could not walk like modern crocodilian both legs are differant fist crocodilian can stand up like mammal or run like mammal but not every modern crocodilian can stand up like mammal gharial can not. proby all crocodilian at time was like that after the evolution after spinosaurs than they turn into false gharial. two gharial are close related but one only eat fish that the gharial false gharial look more like crocodile and is dangerous and a man eater jaws are not as norrow like gharial but not as wide as crocodile .these dog crocs cat crocs pig crocs that they just found couple years ago was on there way to look like dinosaurs mite find some did look like dinosaurs i am talk about bipedal dinosaurus walk .one them had bobtail and had armo on all over there legs . theropod is like there lizard hip cousin prosauropod who give up bipedal to turn into sauropod . any way many sauropod found with armo on there backs classic 3 rows bumpy croc scutes and spines i think all dinosaurs had bumpy croc scutes skin on there backs. by fossil dating sauropod by bumpy skin you can see they look the same like a croc they have thermoregalution croc bumpy skin show that they were cold blood .tuatara have croc bumpy skin too .iguan is missing croc bumpy skin but have spines the basilisk too. only lizard that look like croc and dinosaurs bumpy skin is caiman lizard and chinese crocodile lizard there others claim some lizard look like crocodile i have seen them they do not but look more crocodile than othe lizard i give them that. sauropod evolution all the way true from 150 million years to 70 million years show that it was cold blood no real change you can do that with theropod fossil dating .when evolution in water any thing can happen primtive marine crocodilian had fins on there foot .dinosaurs are just primtive crocodilian did not have special reptile group in the reptile family just like sabertooth cat is in cat family really crocodilian is a dinosaurs in a full blood sense not much differant like sabertooth cat is a cat . dinosaurs are same family group as crocodilians .crocodilian are aquatic dinosaurs so they are not dead .theropod are only won made it.some data tuatara and crocodilians can hunt at night like dinosaurs that very rare for a reptile

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  5. The Cretaceous ocean predators were very large. I suspect that the productivity implied by this was caused by a flow of phosphorus toward the ocean from the savannas permitted by erosion of phosphorus rich runways of plant smothering termites in the Amitermitinae starting in late Jurassic in Australia where the first ocean phosphorite deposits occurred. Anoxic conditions in the oceans were also probably caused by this. This anoxic bottom condition probably helped reduce the ammonites also, in addition to competition from phosphorus enhanced vertebrates. The savanna herbivore dinosaurs declined in armor, teeth, and quite a bit in bony structure across the Cretaceous outside of South America, especially in southeast Asia. Many even lost teeth. I suggest it was due to this same phosphorus famine created by erosion of the soil of the runways of plant smothering termites. Pterosaurs and birds probably lost teeth primarily because of the young eating iron oxide and bauxite in the flying reproductive soil borne termites’ guts, which bound the phosphates. You may see this discussed in more detail starting in http://www.angelfire.com/nc/isoptera/termites.html and its links, which links explore the possible affect that ant evolution had upon them. By the time the Cretaceous ended the world ended up with tiny savanna vertebrates, most of them mammals, which were able to give their young phosphorus in milk at that critical stage. They were a far cry from the massive, well boned Stegosaurs, etc., which roamed around the Jurassic, and had diminished tooth structure at first. They were a long time starting to increase in size (several million years).
    You may see the affects on soil discussed in more detail in http://www.angelfire.com/nc/isoptera/soil.html .
    Sincerely, Charles Weber

    PS It is conceivable that you would also find interesting a hypothesis of my son explaining the Decca (or Deccan) lava flows as disruption of the crust by the disruption of the crust at the antipode (opposite side of a sphere) by a huge meteorite impact. You may see my version in http://charles_w.tripod.com/antipode.html .
    Sincerely, Charles Weber

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