The theory that dinosaurs were actually a form of giant bird-like creatures may turn out to be true after all. Since the past two decades or so, fossils of dinosaurs that were unearthed in China have shown evidence of the presence of feathers on their bodies.
A new find, the Kulindadromeus from eastern Russia has proved beyond a shadow of doubt that feathers were growing from the bodies of dinosaurs that were not even related in any way to the birds.
Of the three large taxonomic families of dinosaurs, the theropods were the ones most closely related to the birds. Then there are the sauropodomorphs which include gentle giants with long necks.
And although they might not look like it, they are very close in lineage to the theropods. And last but not least there are the ornithischians.
Even though intact skins of dinosaurs are a rare occurrence, there have been instances of the dermis of these dino-wonders being preserved thanks to the ideal weather conditions through the ages.
It is agreed upon that dinosaurs did have scales on their legs and feet. But the rest of their body may have had feathers on it. Even a vicious carnivore like the Tyrannosaurus Rex had feathers according to recent reports.
Some of the ornithischians had feathers on their forms. But these were not necessarily the sort of feathers we find in the birds of our present age. Feathers too come in all shapes and sizes.
There are fluffy ones found on chicks and the bristles on others such as penguins. Most of the feathers on dinosaurs were like filaments. The only missing link in the theory is that these filaments never seem to have evolved further in the Jurassic period.
There are a limited number of sites spread throughout the world where the preserved samples of dinosaur skin and feathers may be found. Siberia is one of them and the Kulindadromeus is an example of a dinosaur exhumed there with filaments on its body.
And while it cannot be said with 100% accuracy or surety that the bristles on its body were actually feathers, they do give the impression of bird coverage.