Agriculture
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Fast-flying fungal spores
Earth-Friendly Fabrics
Amphibians
Tree Frogs
Bullfrogs
Salamanders and Newts
Animals
A Wild Ferret Rise
A Fallout Feast for Crabs
Monkeys Count
Behavior
Meet your mysterious relative
Island of Hope
Memory by Hypnosis
Birds
Kingfishers
Vultures
Kookaburras
Chemistry and Materials
Meteorites may have sparked life on Earth
The chemistry of sleeplessness
Pencil Thin
Computers
A New Look at Saturn's rings
Troubles with Hubble
Galaxies far, far, far away
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Fingerprinting Fossils
Supersight for a Dino King
A Living Fossil
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
On the Trail of America's Next Top Scientists
A Global Warming Flap
Life under Ice
Environment
Plant Gas
Shrimpy Invaders
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Finding the Past
Decoding a Beverage Jar
A Big Discovery about Little People
Meet your mysterious relative
Fish
A Grim Future for Some Killer Whales
Puffer Fish
Manta Rays
Food and Nutrition
Packing Fat
Chocolate Rules
Healing Honey
GSAT English Rules
Pronouns
Capitalization Rules
Order of Adjectives
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
GSAT Scholarship
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Mathematics
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
Play for Science
Math Naturals
Human Body
Cell Phones and Possible Health Hazards
Music in the Brain
Prime Time for Broken Bones
Invertebrates
Hermit Crabs
Praying Mantis
Tarantula
Mammals
Chinchillas
Tasmanian Devil
Dingoes
Parents
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Children and Media
How children learn
Physics
Electric Backpack
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
Echoes of a Stretched Egg
Plants
Bright Blooms That Glow
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Fastest Plant on Earth
Reptiles
Crocodiles
Box Turtles
Caimans
Space and Astronomy
No Fat Stars
Big Galaxy Swallows Little Galaxy
Solving a Sedna Mystery
Technology and Engineering
Roll-Up Computer Monitors to Go
Toy Challenge
Supersuits for Superheroes
The Parts of Speech
Pronouns
Problems with Prepositions
What is a Noun
Transportation
Revving Up Green Machines
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Reach for the Sky
Weather
Catching Some Rays
Watering the Air
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Add your Article

Feathered Fossils

As dinosaurs go, Velociraptor mongoliensis is fairly famous. Three starred in the 1993 film Jurassic Park. Despite the creature's fame, scientists have found remains from only about 20 velociraptors. Most of those discoveries turned up in the last 15 years or so, says Alan H. Turner, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. After a close look at some ancient bones, Turner and colleagues recently made a surprising discovery about velociraptors. They found the first direct evidence of big feathers on a relatively large dino. The researchers looked at velociraptor fossils found in Asia's Gobi Desert in 1998. The bones belonged to a dino that was 1.5 meters (5 feet) long. The creature lived 80 million years ago. And scientists have found 60 percent of its bones. During their analysis, the researchers were surprised to discover six bumps on one of the animal's forearm bones. The bumps were spaced regularly about 4 millimeters (0.2 inch) apart. Each bump measured about 0.8 mm (0.03 inch) across. These features had never before been observed on a velociraptor, but they are common on the arm bones of some modern birds. Called quill knobs, the bumps reveal where bone-connecting tissue (called ligaments) attaches major flight feathers to the bone. Not all birds have these knobs. And members of the same bird species often have different numbers of bumps. Still, the presence of quill knobs means that feathers were definitely once connected there. In further support of the feathered conclusion, the bumps on the velociraptor fossil were rough in texture. The quill knobs of modern birds are similarly rough where ligaments attach. Turner's team found six bumps on their velociraptor's arm. Based on the spacing of knobs, however, the scientists believe that the animal could have had as many as 14 large feathers on each forelimb. Some of the feathers may have not been attached to quill knobs. Researchers had previously found feathers on several small dinosaurs that are closely related to velociraptors. Members of those species, which belonged to the genus Microraptor, were usually less than 1 meter (3.2 feet) long. These creatures most likely used their feathers to glide from tree to tree. Velociraptors, however, couldn't have used their feathers to fly or glide through the air because the animals were too big and heavy. The creature that Turner's team studied, for example, probably weighed about 15 kilograms (33 pounds). It would have measured 1 meter (3.2 feet) from its hip to its toes. Nor would the feathers have helped the dinosaurs stay warm. That's because there were too few of the feathers to significantly influence body temperature. Instead, velociraptors may have used their feathers to shield their nests from sunlight or from the eyes of hungry predators. It is also possible that the feathers helped the dinos change directions more quickly or leap higher, Turner suggests. "This goes to show that even a well-known dinosaur like Velociraptor [mongoliensis] can still provide surprises," says Thomas R. Holtz Jr., a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Maryland at College Park.—Emily Sohn

Feathered Fossils
Feathered Fossils








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™