Oldest Feathered Dino Found in China

Dinosaur is earliest known feathered species, may have flown on four wings
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2009 5:13 AM CDT
New anchiornis huxelyi fossils prove the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds, paleontologists say.   (Xing Xu, Chinese Science Bulletin)

(Newser) – A fossilized creature found in northern China puts an end to any controversy over whether birds descended from dinosaurs, say Chinese scientists. The dinosaur, who lived some 10 million years before Archaeopteryx, is the oldest feather species ever discovered. The feathers cover its arms, tail, and also its feet, leading scientists to believe that it may have flown on four wings.

Scientists had earlier believed that Anchiornis huxleyi was a species that existed between birds and dinosaurs, but realized it was an actual dinosaur after finding better-preserved specimens. "Drawing the tree of life, it's fairly obvious that feathers arose before Archaeopteryx appears in the fossil record," a paleontologist told the BBC. "These fantastic new discoveries prove that once and for all. "