On the News | This May Be Our Best Idea of What a Dinosaur Really Looked Like @ National Geographic

On the News @ National Geographic


This May Be Our Best Idea of What a Dinosaur Really Looked Like


“Picture a red-headed woodpecker crossed with a tiny velociraptor, and you have a good mental image of Anchiornis, a foot-high dinosaur that hails from the Late Jurassic.

An advanced laser imaging technique revealed new details about the wing of the bird-like dinosaur Anchiornis, including the presence of previously unseen folds of skin in front of the elbow and behind the wrist. By Wang XL, Pittman M et al. 2017 (@source)

That’s the conclusion of scientists who examined nine specimens of this ancient animal, lighting up its previously invisible soft tissues with high-powered lasers so they could get an even better idea of the dinosaur’s true dimensions.

The study shows that Anchiornis was remarkably bird-like, with drumstick-shaped legs and long forearms connected by a layer of skin called the patagium. It also had a slender tail and scaly footpads reminiscent of those on a chicken.

The discovery, described today in Nature Communications, adds to mounting evidence that a variety of dinosaurs had very bird-like traits as far back as 160 million years ago.

Anchiornis was originally described as a bird,” says study coauthor Michael Pittman, a paleontologist at the University of Hong Kong. “But since then, different authors have provided evidence to [either] support its identity as an early bird or as a bird-like troodontid dinosaur.”

According to Pittman, “the best way to refer to Anchiornis is as a basal paravian, an early member of the group of dinosaurs that includes birds and the bird-like dinosaurs that share their closest common ancestor with birds.”

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE  On the News | China | Scientists see evidence of iridescent rainbow feathers on a dinosaur @ Los Angeles Times


Read it here:


Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)