Lasers Flesh Out Feathered Dinosaurs

Posted: Mar 1 2017, 4:18am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Lasers Flesh Out Feathered Dinosaurs
The reconstructed body outline of the bird-like feathered dinosaur Anchiornis using laser-stimulated fluorescence images is pictured in the above image. Coloured areas represent different fossil specimens and black areas are approximated reconstructions. For the first time we have an accurate body outline of a bird-like dinosaur. Credit: Wang XL, Pittman M et al. 2017
  • Lasers to Fill in Gaps in Physical Appearance of Dinosaurs
 

Scientists are to use lasers to fill in the gaps in the physical appearance of various dinosaurs.

A dinosaur that was about the size of a chicken roamed the earth some 160 million years ago. This dinosaur is most probably the missing link between land-dwelling dinosaurs and air-worthy ones.

The dinosaur belonged to the Jurassic Period and it is called Anchiornis. A group of scientists used lasers to study the small scraps of dry and withered flesh still attached to the bones of this dinosaur. 

What the results of this analysis, published in the journal Nature Communications, show is that this dinosaur had drumstick legs, a narrow tail and arms that resemble modern avian species. Even the scales on the feet of this dinosaur look like those found on the poultry of today.

What remains a mystery is whether this dinosaur was a flying one or not. Much of what the scientists know has been gained from observing the resemblance between the flesh and bones of this dinosaur with that of avians and crocodiles.

Very powerful lasers were employed to study the remains of this chicken-sized dinosaur. The fossil rocks with parts of the bones and flesh intact were analyzed this way with precision and attention to detail. 

The lasers furthermore caused the dinosaur remains to shine and glow in the dark. This was a fascinating find indeed. The first detailed outline of a feathered dinosaur was thus constructed from scratch using this technique.

Most researchers are of the opinion that a study of this dinosaur will lend vital clues as to the source on the evolutionary tree from which birds originated. This curious creature thrived during an era on the prehistoric timeline when birds were nascent in the scheme of things. 

Furthermore, the laser beams revealed a flap towards the elbow of this bird. This is termed a propatagium in modern birds. It is very important for the bird in its flying endeavors. The very fact that such a body part was found in a very old prototypical bird is a cause of great excitement among scientists.

The evolution of birds from earth-bound creatures to the ones which swept across the skies in their regular patterns of flight was revealed in a novel manner. Anchiornis probably had a a grey body and red and black crest that jutted out of the crown of its skull. Also it had a speckled design on its face.

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