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Question of the Day #4: You're pretty feathery, but don't think you can fly

Today’s question is:
Why do you think dinosaurs grew feathers since there really wasn’t much of a need or importance of the feather?

By dinos I mean Cretaceous dinos, since Jurassic and Triassic dinos didn’t really have feathers according to paelontological evidence.

A lot of birds have brightly coloured feathers for courtship and mating. Maybe it was something like that? Some dinosaurs went with big frills or head crests. Others may have gone for feathers.


There are many reasons why dinosaurs would have used them.
Yutyrannus used his probably for temperature since it could have been very cold even in cretaceous China.
Smaller dinosaurs probably used them for display and intimitation as well for incubation

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I can’t find the link now but before Christmas I was reading that they now think the earlier Tyrannosaurids had feathers but lost them as the species grew bigger and it is unlikely that large specimens like T Rex had any feathers or maybe just a few quills.

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I think only arctic tyrannosaurs like yutyrannus and perhaps nanuqsaurus had feathers. But since many tyrannosaurs were living in a tropical area they wouldn’t have needed feathers. Large mamals that live in jungle /savanah areas don’t have fur as well like elephants, rhino’s and hippos

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Hippos are semi-aquatic and live in warmer water temperatures, which coupled with their large size negates the need for fur or hair of any kind. Rhinos and the African Bush and Forest elephants are hairless for similar reasons, except for being fully terrestrial.

They’re more the exception to the rule, given that outside of them and the cetaceans, virtually every single species of mammal has some form of hair or fur covering their bodies. Including Asian elephants, so it’s not really a comparison that holds up.

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Yes that sounds right

If there wasn’t much of a need, or was of little importance, dinosaurs wouldn’t have evolved them then :joy:.

In all seriousness, I think, given the discovery of pictnofibers in Pterasaurs, at some point extremely early on in the evolution of all life on this planet a genetic prototype to feathers, fur, and pictnofibers evolved for the purpose of thermoregulation. Over time, some species lost it while others improved on it. All with the (most likely) intention of having a mating display at first, and then any other uses after that.

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