I have explained in my previous article
how a new discovery shed the light on the possibility of dinosaurs to have feathers. Well, these dinosaurs may actually not look like your favourite ones in Jurassic Park and doesn’t even have nearly the name recognition of Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus, or Triceratops. But for those enthusiasts who know how dinosaurs moved, this is a “beautiful anatomy” and “stunning preservation”.
New details of the wing of the bird-like dinosaur Anchiornis through the laser imaging technique.
"In this study, what we've done is we've used high-powered lasers to reveal unseen soft tissues preserved alongside the bones of a feathered dinosaur called Anchiornis," author, Michael Pittman of the University of Hong Kong said. This can give us a better idea of the dinosaur’s true dimensions.
This is evidence that a variety of dinosaurs living as far back as 160 million years ago had very bird-like traits. Specifically, Anchiornis
is believed to have drumstick-shaped legs and long forearms similar to wings connected by a layer of skin called the patagium. It also had a slender tail and scaly footpads much like living birds or chicken.
The first fossils of this dinosaur were discovered in northeastern China in 2009
. Previous studies on those feathers then revealed that this species most possibly have a black and gray body with white highlights and a red crest.
“I think their findings mainly add detail to our understanding of body shape, reinforcing prior conclusions, and especially refine understanding of the shape of the arms,” says John Hutchinson, a professor of evolutionary biomechanics at the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London.
Moreover, while questions of size, shape, and color are always interesting, another mystery has long been questioned since the discovery of such dinosaur: Could this “near bird” use its feathered wings to fly?
For one, its patagium is an adaptation generally thought to be necessary for gliding or flight. However, this is not a guarantee that it can lift-off for some birds today have this yet are totally flightless.
Even if it is not clear whether Anchiornis could fly or glide, their work “is the broad extent to which bird-like dinosaurs were experimenting with their anatomy and functional capabilities before we had the first unequivocal gliding and flying birds,” Pittman says.