On Tuesday, io9.com posted a link to a story about a very interesting dinosaur discovery. I’ll let io9.com cover the specifics, but it appears that an early ancestor of all dinosaurs was feathered, indicating that feathers may have evolved far earlier than previously thought–and that dinosaurs may not have looked like we have thought. That is, many (all?) dinosaurs may have had some form of feathers (time for some post-production CGI editing of Jurassic Park?).
Now, we’re not talking the feathers you see on birds today. These are more like filaments–closer to hairs than plumage–but if paleontologists come across more dinosaur ancestors with similar covering, then perhaps it’s time to reexamine the fossils of later dinosaurs. Or it would be time to examine why we haven’t seen more evidence of these feathers on other, later fossils (i.e., did feathers disappear and reappear over time?).
So yes, much more evidence is needed, but it’s an interesting discovery. Science–just when you think you know something, new evidence comes along, leading to a whole stream of new theories and discoveries. How cool is that? From Higgs to dinosaurs, there is so much left undiscovered about our world and the universe. So get out there and explore.