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Feathers come before birds, finds research



Feathers come before birds, finds research

Washington DC [USA]June 14 (ANI). New research has found that feathers appeared about 100 million years before the advent of birds, which changed our understanding of the feathers themselves, their functions and their role in evolution. A key discovery was made earlier in 2019, when feathers were reported to the pterosaurs (ancient reptile). If the pterosaurs did carry feathers, it means that these structures arose deep in the evolutionary tree – much deeper than at the time when the birds appeared. “The oldest bird is Archeopteryx, first found in the late Jurassic of southern Germany in 1861, although some species from China are slightly older,” said Professor Mike Benton, lead author of a study published in the journal Ecology and Evolution. All of these fossils show a variety of feathers, downy feathers throughout the body and long, lowered feathers on the wings. But since 1994, paleontologists have been struggling with an outrageous discovery, based on hundreds of amazing specimens from China, that many dinosaurs also had feathers, ”he added. Co-author Daniel Dowaya is working on the development of feathers in chicks, especially their genomic control. She said: “Modern birds, such as chickens, often have scales on their legs or neck, and we have shown that these were permutations, something that was once feathered, has gone to scale.” In fact, we have shown that the same network of regulation of the genome controls the development of reptile scales, bird feathers and mammalian hairs. Feathers could develop very early, ”she added. Another researcher, Baoyu Jiang, said: “The breakthrough came when we studied two new pterosaurs from China. We saw that many of their whiskers were branched. We expected single strands, monofilaments, but what we saw were bunches and downy feathers. "(ANI)

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