A new laser technique which makes use of high-power beams of laser revealed new data about dinosaurs fossils. This method is bound to unveil hidden soft tissue located alongside fossils’ bones. Thus, it offers scientists a view over one of the most significant evolutionary transformations that have ever occurred, indicating how small feathered dinosaurs managed to fly just like birds do.
- Paleontologists used a laser technique to reveal more about a species of bird-like dinosaur.
- The creature used to live in China about 160 million years ago.
- Some scientists stated that it was able to fly due to its avian characteristics.
On February 28, researchers stated that they used the laser technique on fossils of a bird-like dinosaur which had the size of a chicken and was known as Anchiornis. The creature used to live in China approximately 160 million years ago. The animal had stick-like legs, arms which looked like the wings of modern soaring birds, and a long tail.
Scientists have long debated whether this bird-like Jurassic Period animal should be classified as a bird due to its avian characteristics. The animal bears soft tissue and skeletal features which were also revealed in birds. Moreover, this creature lived around the times when birds distanced from their bird-like ancestors.
Archaeopteryx is a species of bird which is known to have lived in Germany approximately 150 million years ago, being considered the earliest bird ever known. Michael Pittman, a paleontologist at the University of Hong Kong, claimed that this bird was a funny-looking one, having strange features when it comes to its appearance.
He was the one who led the new study which was recently published in the Nature Communications magazine. Scientists needed a revolutionary technique like laser-stimulated fluorescence (LSF) which enables high-powered lasers which scan the fossils in a dark room to determine soft tissue located beneath it to glow.
Pittman argued that this newly developed study provided the first extremely detailed body outline of a feathered dinosaur. This represented the most significant turning point in researchers’ understanding of avian origins. The new research unveiled the creature had a shallow spot of soft tissue located in front of the elbow known as the propatagium.
This represents the preeminent edge of bird wings, being extremely significant when flying. Nevertheless, specialists argued that there is no proof attesting that Anchiornis was a species which could be airborne. Xiaoli Wang, a paleontologist at Linyi University in China, stated that some researchers thought that the creature could glide due to its robust, long and feathered arms.
Image courtesy of: wikipedia