A Fine Feathered Dinosaur

Imagine traveling back in time 250 million years ago to the Triassic period, when dinosaurs were not the big boys on the block and they looked a little – well, fluffy. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet

Nesbitt: This was such an interesting time in North American history because dinosaurs were the rare animals. They were the small animals. They were dominated in size and diversity by relatives of crocodiles. These animals were 20 to 25 feet long, and probably ate early dinosaurs for lunch every day.

Paleobiologist Sterling Nesbitt. He says that even though dinosaurs and crocodilians were reptiles, dinosaurs are actually much more closely related to can you guess?

Nesbitt: Birds are actually much closer to dinosaurs than crocodiles. So, we know now that most of the characters that birds have, like feathers and the wishbone, all were inherited by dinosaurs. So crocodiles and alligators are pretty closely related to dinosaurs, but dinosaurs show more characters in common with birds today.
But there are many fossils now from China that show that carnivorous dinosaurs and even plant-eating dinosaurs were covered in some kind of feather-like structure. So, feathers evolved outside of birds and were inherited from their dinosaur ancestors. So, birds are actually all dinosaurs.

Wait a minute, you can’t be serious. Dinosaurs had feathers?

Nesbitt: We don’t know exactly if T-Rex had feathers, but we know that very close relatives of Tyrannosaurs Rex did have some kind of feathering coating, and those fossils were found in China.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.

A Fine Feathered Dinosaur

Close relatives of Tyrannosaurs Rex actually had some kind of feathering coating!
Air Date:02/11/2015
Scientist:
Transcript:

Imagine traveling back in time 250 million years ago to the Triassic period, when dinosaurs were not the big boys on the block and they looked a little - well, fluffy. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet

Nesbitt: This was such an interesting time in North American history because dinosaurs were the rare animals. They were the small animals. They were dominated in size and diversity by relatives of crocodiles. These animals were 20 to 25 feet long, and probably ate early dinosaurs for lunch every day.

Paleobiologist Sterling Nesbitt. He says that even though dinosaurs and crocodilians were reptiles, dinosaurs are actually much more closely related to can you guess?

Nesbitt: Birds are actually much closer to dinosaurs than crocodiles. So, we know now that most of the characters that birds have, like feathers and the wishbone, all were inherited by dinosaurs. So crocodiles and alligators are pretty closely related to dinosaurs, but dinosaurs show more characters in common with birds today.
But there are many fossils now from China that show that carnivorous dinosaurs and even plant-eating dinosaurs were covered in some kind of feather-like structure. So, feathers evolved outside of birds and were inherited from their dinosaur ancestors. So, birds are actually all dinosaurs.

Wait a minute, you can't be serious. Dinosaurs had feathers?

Nesbitt: We don't know exactly if T-Rex had feathers, but we know that very close relatives of Tyrannosaurs Rex did have some kind of feathering coating, and those fossils were found in China.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.