Ornithomimus dinosaur with preserved tail feathers and skin tightens linkages between dinosaurs and birds

October 28, 2015, University of Alberta
An illustration of Ornithomimus based on the findings of preserved tail feathers and soft tissue Credit: Julius Csotonyi

An undergraduate University of Alberta paleontology student has discovered an Ornithomimus dinosaur with preserved tail feathers and soft tissue. The discovery is shedding light on the convergent evolution of these dinosaurs with ostriches and emus relating to thermoregulation and is also tightening the linkages between dinosaurs and modern birds.

"We now know what the plumage looked like on the tail, and that from the mid-femur down, it had bare skin," says Aaron van der Reest. This is the first report of such preserved skin forming a web from the femoral shaft to the abdomen, never before seen in . "Ostriches use bare skin to thermoregulate. Because the plumage on this specimen is virtually identical to that of an ostrich, we can infer that Ornithomimus was likely doing the same thing, using feathered regions on their body to maintain body temperature. It would've looked a lot like an ostrich." In fact, this group of —referred to as ornithomimids—is commonly referred to as "ostrich mimics."

Although the preserved are extremely crushed due to sediment compaction, scanning electron microscopy reveals a three-dimensional keratin structure to the feathers on the tail and body. van der Reest made the initial discovery during his first year as an undergraduate student, supervised by Philip Currie, Canada's leading palentologist."It's pretty remarkable. I don't know if I've stopped smiling since."

Predicting future adaptations to environmental changes

This new specimen—one of only three feathered Ornithomimus specimens in the world—is shedding light on the animal's evolutionary adaptation to different environments. "We are getting the newest information on what these animals may have looked like, how they maintained body temperatures, and the stages of feather evolution." van der Reest notes that the findings may be used to further understand why animals have adapted the way they have and to predict how animals will have to adapt in the future in order to survive .

"This specimen also tightens the linkages between dinosaurs and birds, in particular with respect to theropods," says Alex Wolfe, second author on the paper. "There are so many components of the morphology of this fossil as well as the chemistry of the feathers that are essentially indistinguishable from ."

The discovery may also alter future excavation techniques, explains van der Reest. "If we can better understand the processes behind the preservation of the feathers in this specimen, we can better predict whether other fossilized animals in the ground will have soft tissues, feathers, or skin impressions preserved."

Explore further: New fossil shows Archaeopteryx sported 'feathered trousers'

More information: A densely feathered ornithomimid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous Dinosaur Park Formation, Alberta, Canada, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cretres.2015.10.004

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Oct 28, 2015
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3.9 / 5 (11) Oct 28, 2015
Are you actually saying that your bible knew something about dinosaurs? Oh my!
Oct 28, 2015
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3.9 / 5 (7) Oct 28, 2015
But returners! In verse 21 birds is the fourth thing mentioned! Now you can't take it out of context anymore, or assign meaning where there isn't any :(
Oct 28, 2015
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2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 28, 2015
But returners! In verse 21 birds is the fourth thing mentioned! Now you can't take it out of context anymore, or assign meaning where there isn't any :(

I didn't take it out of context. The other land animals, aside from the "monsters/dragon/serpent" translation of the word incorrectly rendered "whale", were created on the next day(verse 24,) which means birds were created an "aeon" before the other animals.

4.3 / 5 (6) Oct 28, 2015
Evolution is a continuous process. New species are constantly being created. If fish were created an "aeon" before land animals... then an aeon later fish AND land animals would have been created. The effect would compound. If the Bible was consistent with evolution, it would point that out.

Regardless, it all boils down to a much too literal reading of Genesis.
3.9 / 5 (7) Oct 28, 2015
I didn't take it out of context. The other land animals, aside from the "monsters/dragon/serpent" translation of the word incorrectly rendered "whale", were created on the next day(verse 24,)
But you did. BECAUSE youve decided beforehand that the bible is infallible, youve had to squeeze and stretch and twist the words to fit your preconception.

Youve apparently think god really said a day equals an aeon.

But thats not what it says.

And youve mistaken the incidental order of things created as an indication of WHEN they were created.

But its obvious no such order is implied, as matt_s.

If you think order is as described in the book, what about the two contradictory creation accounts (1:1-2:3 and 2:4-3:24), one which puts man after the animals and the other which puts him before?

-OF course you have an explanation. Doesnt matter if it makes sense or not.
3.9 / 5 (7) Oct 28, 2015
Lrrkrrrrr be very careful with arbitrary metaphors. If you declare that a day is really a metaphor for a much longer period of time, which many have and many have not, then anything in the book can be considered a metaphor.

For instance we know there is no mt sinai. So did moses receive a real 10 commandments on a metaphorical mountain?

And we know that no 2 million hebrew slaves ever lived in goshen, nor did they ever follow moses or anyone else into the desert for 40 years.

So are they, and he, metaphors? And what about the commandments? How can they be real when all the other elements in the myth are metaphors? Are the commandments themselves metaphors for a much more rational and comprehensive list?

Where do you stop pretending you can reconcile the irreconcilable by arbitrarily declaring only some of it metaphorical as it suits you?
3 / 5 (2) Nov 01, 2015
The Bible is a compendium of letters put together by the Catholic church, which were found in caves. The church decided what went into it, and how it should be interpreted.
That same church has covered up for it's members who have destroyed the lives of innocent children for centuries, not to mention sanctioning the slaughter of millions of native Americans who simply wanted to follow their own religions.
You now want to reference that same book to explain how the universe came to be??? . You obviously don't have the capacity to comprehend the natural laws around you.

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