Researchers ponder why new dinosaur species had feathers but could not fly

Study asks why flightless dinosaur had feathers?

EDMONTON — The discovery of a new species of bird-like dinosaur is raising questions about the creature’s evolution and why it had feathers when it couldn’t actually fly.

Researchers studying a fossil found in China have determined that Jianianhualong tengi had large feathers associated with aerodynamics, but there’s no evidence that it could get off the ground.

Philip Currie, a University of Alberta paleobiologist, said the species is a missing link between birds and dinosaurs.

“Every time you find a missing link between two animals, you create two new missing links,” Currie said. “We’re looking for the answer as to why there’s a combination of primitive and advanced features.”

The findings of the international research team were published Tuesday in the open-access journal Nature Communications.

An artist’s rendering of the species suggests the metre-long dinosaur resembled a large pheasant with short wings.

The scientists say Jianianhualong tengi lived during the Early Cretaceous period, roughly 125 million years ago, in an area of northeastern China famous for its feathered dinosaurs.

Currie said the fossil demonstrates mosaic evolution in which parts of an animal’s skeleton changes without simultaneously affecting other parts.

He said more research is needed to better understand why the dinosaur would have had feathers if they weren’t used for flight.

“The only way to answer these questions is to find more animals to fill in the gaps.”

Currie estimates that only one per cent of one per cent of all the world’s dinosaurs have been identified to date.


The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Stargate armour debuts at Kelowna expo

The Kelowna Fan Experience will feature Jaffa armour from Stargate SG-1

Okanagan athletes among those celebrated with Aboriginal awards

Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport handed out

Okanagan makes Top 5 of least affordable home markets list

The Okanagan is the fourth least affordable place in Canada to buy property on a single income

Kelowna summit will connect employers and immigrants

A session will be held tomorrow from 12 to 3 p.m. at the downtown library

Suspected overdose, poisoning calls jump in Okanagan

BCEHS statistics show calls rose last year in Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Kamloops landlord dealing with aftermath of firebombing

Kamloops landlord claims tenant to be a nightmare

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Vernon police search van possibly connected to bear spray incident

Police searched a yellow cube van, Thursday afternoon, at Vernon Auto Towing

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Most Read