Researchers uncover details behind dinosaur-era birds’ feathers

FIG. 1.Ventral view of the new bohaiornithid specimen (CUGB P1202, primary slab). A, photograph of the primary slab. B, inter-pretive drawing.Abbreviations: co, coracoid; cv, cervical vertebrae; fe, femur; fu, furcula; hu, humerus; il, ilium; mcI–III, metacarpalsI–III; mt, metatarsals; pd I–IV, pedal digits I–IV; phI-1, first phalanx of digit I; phII/III-1/2, first/second phalanx of digit II/III; pu,pubis; py, pygostyle; ra, radius; sc, scapula; sk, skull; sml, semilunate carpal; st, sternum; sy, synsacrum; th, thoracic vertebrae; ti, tibia;ul, ulna; uln, ulnare. Scale bar represents 1 cm. Colour online
FIG. 1.Ventral view of the new bohaiornithid specimen (CUGB P1202, primary slab). A, photograph of the primary slab. B, inter-pretive drawing.Abbreviations: co, coracoid; cv, cervical vertebrae; fe, femur; fu, furcula; hu, humerus; il, ilium; mcI–III, metacarpalsI–III; mt, metatarsals; pd I–IV, pedal digits I–IV; phI-1, first phalanx of digit I; phII/III-1/2, first/second phalanx of digit II/III; pu,pubis; py, pygostyle; ra, radius; sc, scapula; sk, skull; sml, semilunate carpal; st, sternum; sy, synsacrum; th, thoracic vertebrae; ti, tibia;ul, ulna; uln, ulnare. Scale bar represents 1 cm. Colour online

Scientists have recently discovered a new bohaiornithid bird specimen from the Early Cretaceous Period of China with remarkably preserved feathers. Bohaiornithid birds belonged to enantiornithes, a group of avian dinosaurs that lived millions of years ago.

Our current knowledge of prehistoric plumage is limited, but the new findings provide valuable insights related to structure and colouration.

“Many enantiornithine birds possessed ornate feathers. This new specimen shows that some enantiornithines also had iridescent feathers and unlike most modern birds, these flashy ornaments developed before the animal was fully grown,” said Jennifer Peteya, lead author of the Palaentology study.

Reference:
The plumage and colouration of an enantiornithine bird from the early cretaceous of china. DOI: 10.1111/pala.12270

Note: The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Wiley.

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