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Fossil Roundup

October 5, 2007

Fossils from Mongolia reveal that velociraptors had feathers.


A dinosaur with feathers. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Scientists have long known that modern birds are direct descendents of dinosaurs. But some dinosaurs may have been even more birdlike than was thought. A well-preserved arm bone from the small but fierce velociraptor shows tiny, evenly spaced structures called quill knobs. In birds, similar pits correspond to feathers. Reporting in the journal Science, the researchers conclude that these dinosaurs almost certainly sported feathers.

Also in the journal Science, a new report on the fossilized skeleton of a Hobbit-sized human ancestor, found last year in Indonesia. Some scientists thought that rather than a new species of human, it might have been a dwarf born to a larger, known species. But close examination of its wrist bones shows that it probably was an entirely new, and very small, addition to the human ancestral tree. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.