Researchers Reveal The Owner of the First Feather Fossil Found
Fossil of Acheopteryx dinosaur feathers. (Photo: Museum of Naturkunde)
A TEAM of international scientists reveals the owners of the first feather fossils ever found. Led by the University of South Florida (USF), the feathers are known to belong to a bird-like dinosaur named Archeopteryx. These findings have also been published in the Journal Scientific Reports on Wednesday, September 30.
Archeopteryx is an iconic dinosaur named in 1861 in Germany. Scientists have debated for centuries whether dinosaurs really possessed the first feather fossils found. The reason is that some think it is the fur belonging to another species.
"There has been debate over the past 159 years as to whether these feathers belonged to the same species as the Archeopteryx skeleton, as well as where they came from and their original color," said lead author Ryan Carney, assistant professor of integrative biology at USF, quoted by Phys , Thursday (1/10) / 2020).
To answer the debate, the researchers analyzed nine attributes of feathers. This includes long quill and data from modern birds. In addition, they also examined 13 skeletons belonging to Archeopteryx.
From the identification results, it is known that the feather fossils found are primary feathers. Meanwhile, the three skeletons belonging to Archeopteryx are known to have these primary feathers. This was found on the surface of the wing, thus confirming their findings.
"Through scientific detective work combining new techniques with fossils and old literature, we are finally able to solve this centuries-old mystery," says Carney.
While the primary feathers are in charge of covering the main feathers. It also serves to help propel birds in the air. It was found on the left wing of Archeopteryx through a special kind of electron microscope sight.
As well as breaking up the debate over the owner of the fur, the researchers also revealed their true colors. The fur was originally thought to be black and white. However, from the results of this study, it is known to be dark black, different from the initial estimates.