Feathered Dinosaur Gives Evolution Clues
A feathered dinosaur fossil about 12 inches long is older than bird-like dinosaurs from which birds are thought to have evolved, British paleontologists say. The discovery of the new bird-like dinosaur from the Jurassic period, dubbed Eosinopteryx, presents a challenge to widely accepted theories on the origin of flight, they said.
The fossilized remains found in northeastern China suggest Eosinopteryx, while feathered, was a flightless dinosaur with a small wingspan and a bone structure that would have restricted its ability to flap its wings. It had toes suited to walking along the ground, researchers said, and fewer feathers on its tail and lower legs, which would have made it easier to run. “Our findings suggest that the origin of flight was much more complex than previously thought,” said Gareth Dyke in a University of Southampton press release.