Monday, January 24, 2011

Did Alligators Once Have Feathers?

I was recently asked if I would be interested in sharing an article written by Carl Zimmer that will be featured in the February 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine. I found the article to be interesting and thought that you might enjoy it as well. Here is the introduction that was sent to me, along with a link to the article:

As an avid bird lover, you probably know that birds evolved from dinosaurs, but did you know that the same feather building genes found in birds are also found in alligators, indicating that the ancestors of all dinosaurs may have had hair-like feathers? This astonishing possibility and more are discussed in National Geographic magazine’s February 2011 article on the evolution of feathers, “The Long Curious Extravagant Evolution of Feathers,” by Carl Zimmer. The article traces the origin of feathers and will be of particular interest to any bird enthusiast.
Click: here to read the article.

Below are two different feathers photographed by Robert Clark which are featured in the Feb 2011 National Geographic Magazine:

The first photo is of a tail feather from a Northern Flicker used to assist in climbing.

photo 2 is from a King Bird-of-paradise (Disk tail-feather tip, wobbles during display).

The article by Carl Zimmer and and photographs by Robert Clark can both be found in the February 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine available on newsstands January 25th.


Hilke Breder said...

The issue of NG was lying on my desk, had not yet opened it, but your post put it on top my to read pile. Just a quick glance: it looks fascinating.

troutbirder said...

Hard to believe...but I'm buying it.

strangetruther said...

Hard to believe, and I'm NOT buying it. Go to:

for my detailed sciencepolice2010 critique.


Larry said...

Hilke-Haven't read the magazine since I was a kid but maybe I'll give it another look.

troutbirder-I don't know but an interesting theory.

johnst-always good to read more than one point of view.Thanks for the link.

Lana Gramlich said...

I've been part of the "feathered dinosaur" camp for a while now, myself. It just explains a LOT.