The Early Origin of Feathers

Michael Benton*, Danielle Dhouailly, Baoyu Jiang, Maria McNamara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Feathers have long been regarded as the innovation that drove the success of birds. However, feathers have been reported from close dinosaurian relatives of birds, and now from ornithischian dinosaurs and pterosaurs, the cousins of dinosaurs. Incomplete preservation makes these reports controversial. If true, these findings shift the origin of feathers back 80 million years before the origin of birds. Gene regulatory networks show the deep homology of scales, feathers, and hairs. Hair and feathers likely evolved in the Early Triassic ancestors of mammals and birds, at a time when synapsids and archosaurs show independent evidence of higher metabolic rates (erect gait and endothermy), as part of a major resetting of terrestrial ecosystems following the devastating end-Permian mass extinction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)856-869
Number of pages14
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Volume34
Issue number9
Early online date1 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • birds
  • CBPs
  • dinosaurs
  • feather
  • gene regulatory network
  • pterosaurs

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Early Origin of Feathers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this