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Feathered dinosaurs is a term used to describe dinosaurs, particularly maniraptoran dromaeosaurs, that were covered in plumage; either filament-like intergumentary structures with few branches, to fully developed pennaceous feathers complete with shafts and vanes. Feathered dinosaurs first came to realization after it was discovered that dinosaurs are closely related to birds. Since then, the term "feathered dinosaurs" has widened to encompass the entire concept of the dinosaur–bird relationship, including the various avian characteristics some dinosaurs possess, including a pygostyle, a posteriorly oriented pelvis, elongated arms and forelimbs and clawed hand, and clavicles fused to form a furcula. A substantial amount of evidence demonstrates that birds are the descendants of theropod dinosaurs, and that birds evolved during the Jurassic from small, feathered maniraptoran theropods closely related to dromaeosaurids and troodontids (known collectively as deinonychosaurs). Less than two dozen species of dinosaurs have been discovered with direct fossil evidence of plumage since the 1990s, with most coming from Cretaceous deposits in China, most notably Liaoning Province. Together, these fossils represent an important transition between dinosaurs and birds, which allows paleontologists to piece together the origin and evolution of birds. (Read more...)

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Paul Sereno2

Paul Sereno is an American paleontologist who is the discoverer of several new dinosaur species on several continents. He has conducted excavations at sites as varied as Inner Mongolia, Argentina, Morocco and Niger. He is a professor at the University of Chicago and a National Geographic "explorer-in-residence." Sereno's most widely publicized discovery is that of a nearly complete specimen of Sarcosuchus imperator (popularly known as SuperCroc) at Gadoufaoua in the Tenere desert of Niger. Other major discoveries include Eoraptor - the oldest known dinosaur fossil, Jobaria, the first good skull of Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis, Afrovenator, Suchomimus and the African pterosaur. (Read more...)

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"Why are the bones of great fishes, and oysters and corals and various other shells and sea-snails, found on the high tops of mountains that border the sea, in the same way in which they are found in the depths of the sea?"
—Leonardo da Vinci

'Physical Geography', in The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, trans. E. MacCurdy (1938), Vol. 1, 361.

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Diagram showing the appearances and relative sizes of 18 basal species of Ceratopsians (frilled, beaked dinosaurs typified by Triceratops). Animals are shown in order of geologic stage from left to right and top to bottom, with species names and stage information as annotation.

Ceratopsians were beaked herbivores who lived in what are now North America and Asia, during the Cretaceous Period. Early members such as Psittacosaurus were small and bipedal. Later members, including ceratopsids like Centrosaurus and Triceratops, became very large quadrupeds and developed elaborate facial horns and a neck frill.

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