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Clever Bird

Found via BoingBoing:

Goodbye, Overgrown Lizards?

Previously, paleontologists have found feathers only on coelurosaurs—birdlike dinosaurs that evolved later than so-called megalosaurs such as Sciurumimus.

Because Sciurumimus is not closely related to coelurosaurs, the new fossil suggests feathered dinosaurs were the norm, not the exception, Rauhut said.

“Probably all dinosaurs were feathered,” he added, “and we should say good bye to the familiar image of the overgrown lizards.”

Previous research had already suggested that feathers were widespread in the Cretaceous and late Jurassic periods (prehistoric time line), noted Corwin Sullivan, a paleontologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing—even if few specimens have been found.

Feathered-dinosaur remains are sparse because “we only find them in places where conditions were just right for their bodies to be buried and preserved in a way that kept the feathers as well as the bones intact,” Sullivan, who was not involved in the research, noted by email. (link)

Thank God Steven Spielberg made Jurassic Park instead of George Lucas.  If Lucas were behind the film, we’d soon be seeing Jurassic Park: Special Edition, with new ILM Featherfonic Technology.  Either way, a whole new generation of dinosaur artists have something new to paint now.

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