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Oldest feathered dino shows its colors

Finding suggests plumage first evolved for display, not flight

By
1:45pm, February 4, 2010

Another week, another colorful feathered dinosaur. Hot on the heels of a recent report identifying pigments in fossilized dino feathers and filaments (SN Online: 1/27/10), a different team of scientists says that it has mapped the full pattern of plumage sported by the oldest known feathered dinosaur.

Paleontologists first described Anchiornis huxleyi, which lived in what is now northeastern China between 151 million and 161 million years ago, in September (SN: 10/24/09, p. 8). Reports of the lithe, peacock-sized dinosaur caused quite a stir, not least because the feathered creature was older than Arch

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