Washington: A new study provides deeper insight into why dinosaurs had cloak of feathers long before early bird species Archaeopteryx first attempted flight.
The research team postulated that these ancient lizards had a highly developed ability to discern color, so their hypothesis was that the evolution of feathers made dinosaurs more colorful, which in turn had a profoundly positive impact on communication, the selection of mates and on dinosaurs' procreation.
Marie-Claire Koschowitz of the Steinmann Institute for Geology, Mineralogy and Paleontology at the University of Bonn, suggested that after analyzing dinosaurs' genetic relationships to reptiles and birds, the researcher determined that dinosaurs not only possessed the three color receptors for red, green and blue that the human eye possesses, but that they, like their closest living relatives, crocodiles and birds, were probably also able to see extremely short-wave and ultraviolet light by means of an additional receptor.
The precursor to feathers resembled hairs similar to mammals' fur and they served primarily to protect the smaller predatory dinosaurs, which would eventually give rise to birds, from losing too much body heat. Feathers allowed for more visible signals than did fur.
Prof. Dr. Martin Sander of the University of Bonn's Steinmann Institute said that this allowed dinosaurs to not only show off their colorful feathery attire, but to be warm-blooded animals at the same time, something mammals never managed.
The study is published in the journal Science.