Realistically, we'll probably never successfully clone a dinosaur -- but if we ever do, we may be surprised by how the beast turns out. A fossil found in Siberia threatens to change our perception of what history's giant lizards may have looked like. We already know that not all dinosaurs were scales and teeth -- fossils from the 1990s show that some carnivorous theropods may have worn feathery coats -- but the new fossil suggests that far more dinos were covered in birdlike feathers than previously suspected. The Siberian discovery suggests that plant-eating dinos may have had feathers too.
The new fossil, identified as Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, is the first non-theropod dinosaur discovered to exhibit evidence of feathers. It's an outlier, but it suggests that non-carnivore may have evolved with feathers as well. According to head researcher Pascal Godefroit, it could even mean that many of the well-known species we see as all-scales today were feathered, too. "Probably more of them had feathers but those feathers were not fossilized," the paleontologist told The Verge. "Potentially, all dinosaurs could have been covered in feathers."
Godefroit says this information will change how scientists think about how the creatures evolved, but admits the research is only just starting. "There are too many questions left." Still, our grandkids could be looking at museum exhibits very different from the ones we enjoyed as children.
[Image credit: D. Hurst / Alamy]