Twenty-five years ago, Chinese scientists revealed the first feathered dinosaur. Since then, they have unearthed a treasure trove of exquisitely preserved specimens that put dinosaurs in a whole new light



Life



13 October 2021

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Sinosauropteryx upended the idea that feathers are unique to birds

Julius T Csotonyi/Science Photo Library

IN OCTOBER 1996, I was in New York City attending the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. The atmosphere was electric. I recall hurried encounters in hallways featuring black and white photographs and stunned reactions. Yale University’s John Ostrom – the leading expert on fossil birds and dinosaurs at the time – said the images left him “in a state of shock”. Another dinosaur expert, Phil Currie, then at the Royal Tyrrell …



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