An undergraduate student from the University of Alberta has uncovered the fossilised remains of an Ornithomimus dinosaur with preserved tail feathers and soft tissue. The remarkable specimen is offering important insights into the plumage patterns of these ancient creatures, while tightening the linkages between dinosaurs and birds.
The 75-million-year-old fossil, discovered by paleontologist Aaron J. van der Reest in the Upper Cretaceous Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta, is the first to show traces of preserved skin from the femur to the abdomen in a non-avian dinosaur. It’s considered the most complete feathered dinosaur specimen found in North America to date, the details of which can now be found at the science journal Cretaceous Research.
Analysis of the fossil shows that Ornithomimidae — a genus of omnivorous bipedal dinosaurs — were not covered in feathers from head-to-toe. Like modern-day ostriches, their legs were bare.
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