In “Carnivorous, nine metres long and ‘downright shaggy’: Scientists unearth feathered tyrannosaur” (National Post, April 4, 2012), Margaret Munro reports,
A giant feathered tyrannosaur has been unearthed in China, the largest creature — living or extinct — known to sport a downy coat.
The carnivore, which grew up to nine metres long, likely looked “downright shaggy,” Corwin Sullivan, a Canadian paleontologist on the team that unveiled the creature, said on Wednesday.
The scientists say the creature did not actually fly which would have been impossible given its large size — far bigger than the average cow — and the downy structure of its feathers. But they say the feathers may have had an important function as insulation because the creatures lived about 125 million years ago when global temperatures took a dip.
Which raises a question: If some of the “long, filamentous feathered plumage” turn out to be structured in the same way as flight feathers on a creature that could not actually fly, what does that imply about their origin, as opposed to their incidental use for insulation? Would that not imply design?
At this point, we can’t rule out fossil fraud either.
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