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Feathers not so common in dinosaurs … but it’s too soon to tell, researchers report

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File:Microraptor gui holotype.png
feather impressions/Hone et al.

From Nature:

“I’d go so far as to say that all dinosaurs had some sort of genetic trait that made it easy for their skin to sprout filaments, quills and even feathers,” says Barrett. ”But with scales so common throughout the family tree, they still look like they are the ancestral condition.”

The findings provide “a valuable reality check for all of us who have been enthusiastic about suggesting dinosaurs were primitively feathered”, says Richard Butler, a palaeontologist at the University of Birmingham, UK, who was not associated with the study.

Butler, however, goes on to say that we don’t really know because there are just not enough skin impressions from the earliest period yet.

So far, we mainly know that the therapod (bird-like) dinosaur were mostly feathery and the sauropod (lizard-like) dinosaurs were mostly scaly. It certainly would be interesting if feathers turned out to be common in the earliest state. We’d add that one to the “Earlier than thought” list.

Here is another write up on this article on crev dot info: http://crev.info/2013/12/feather-mistake-dinosaurs-were-mostly-scaly/
“Feathers were the exception, not the rule” says Nature News in a paradigm-correction move. “Survey of dinosaur family tree finds that most had scaly skin like reptiles.” Matt Kaplan doesn’t doubt that birds are evolved dinosaurs, but reports that the field needs a reality check:
Surprisingly, it’s been the ornithischian dinosaurs (“bird-hipped”) that were scaly, and the saurischian (“lizard-hipped”) that supported the “feathered dinosaur” claims. Evidence of “integumentary structures” on ornithiscians have been rare exceptions.
there are no such division of creatures called dinosaurs. THey are unrelated kinds. any like trait is for like need. Some dinos had fur and some feathers and some scales. no big deal. Some "mammals" have armour(armodillos) and some not. No big deal. Its all presumptions about classification concepts. just a wrong hunch. Robert Byers

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