All dinosaurs appear to have had at least this kind of simple, hair-like feathery features in their biology, and indeed that feathers seem to be an ancestral trait among these creatures.
If the beautifully preserved juvenile dinosaur remains – that were unearthed in Germany in their Jurassic strata – is a pointer to times past, then the possibility must exist that ALL dinosaurs, at some stage, had patches of filamentous feathers on their bodies, which one might expect if the bird world is indeed the evolutionary next step for the dinosaurs.
Plumage of various sorts appears to have been the lot of many dinosaur species, the 1996 discovery of theropod Sinosauropteryx the start point from which palaeontologists have come to find over 30 types of feathered dinosaur, mostly but not exclusively coelurosaur species, meaning that fearsome tyrannosaurs, wickedly-clawed deinonychosaurs and the strange therizinosaurs all come into the category
Not that there have not been some surprises, because palaeontologists have also found simple feathers on vertebral columns of ornithischian dinosaurs, very distantly related to birds, these discoveries hinting at the fact that proto-feathers were indeed a common dinosaur feature, feathery body coverings widespread.
This latest German find – a 150-million-year-old theropod Sciurumimus albersdoerferi hosted in a form of plumage, so notable simply because this dinosaur was of the megalosauroid, archaic sharp-toothed dinosaurs very far removed from the types of feathered dinosaur and early birds so far discovered, making feathers an obviously very ancient dinosaur feature, perhaps present from the very beginning.
Natural History Museum palaeontologist Paul Barrett commented that these filaments being among all dinosaurs is only really speculation, because though feathery structures might be common to all dinosaurs, they may actually have evolved at different times in differing species.
Many more feathered dinosaurs are sure still to be found, especially in areas where fine-grained sediments – capable of preserving feather fossil – are prominent. What does seem certain is that all dinosaurs appear to have had at least this kind of simple, hair-like feathery features in their biology, and indeed that feathers seem to be an ancestral trait among these creatures.