Sciurumimus, the first feathery Megalosaurus
I have dubbed Sciurumimus its bushy tail, in honor of the squirrels of the genus Sciurus. Their fossil remains show that could be covered with feathers filamentous, like hairs. This young dinosaur is the first case megalosaur feathered as described and is not closely related to the birds.
The specimen lived in the Upper Jurassic, made between 154 and 135 million years, was discovered in a quarry Painten the German people and set out in the Muller Bürgermeister municipal museum in the region of Bavaria (Germany)
The fossil remains of this animal pen in contributing to “fill a gap in understanding the early evolution of a group of predatory dinosaurs more important,” says Oliver Rauhut SINC, a paleontologist at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, member of State Collection of Paleontology and Geology of Bavaria.
As published by Rauhut and his team of German researchers in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the well preserved fossil skull indicates it had a large and short hind leg. The finest feathers would be distributed under the belly and dorsal vertebrae, and have feathers all over his body.
Their feathers take away the exclusive filamentous their cousins, the coelurosaurs, which until now was the only group of feathered theropods, were known. Theropods are a suborder of dinosaur’s saurischians, ancestors of the birds, walking on two legs and were carnivorous.
The protofeathers of Sciurumimus are very similar to that of the filaments of the ornithischian dinosaurs, the other great order of herbivores. “Our finding is relevant in the family tree of predatory dinosaurs, but also in their common origin with Rauhut says the rest. We now have evidence that dinosaurs also had protofeathers coelurosaurs. Maybe all the dinosaurs were. ”
The feathers of this predator were not allowed to fly, according to researchers, and its main function was the insulation. The layer makes sense only if these animals were endothermic, a further indication that these animals were warm-blooded.
Research has been attended by Mark Norell of the Museum of Natural History in New York (USA), a leading expert in the study of feathered dinosaurs from China.