What are dinosaur feathers like? We asked Dr. Ryan C McKellar, curator of invertebrate paleontology at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, and Dr. Mark Norell, chairman of the divison of paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History.
How are dinosaurs related to birds?
“Just like that humans are a kind of primate, birds are a kind of dinosaur. They’re just a sub-group of them. Dinosaurs aren’t extinct—we just call them birds now.”—Dr. Mark Norell
Are there different types of dinosaur feathers?
“Many of these animals had feathers that were more bristle-like, sort of like hairs for lack of a better description. Others had feathers that were almost indistinguishable from modern bird feathers.”—Dr. Ryan C McKellar
Did these feathers serve a purpose?
“We know that feathers evolved long before the origin of flight. Initially they were used as thermal blankets and then shortly thereafter they’re also important for display, which is something feathers are often used for in living birds even today.”—Dr. Mark Norell