Illustration of Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus by Andrey Atuchin

A team of researchers representing institutions in Belgium, Russia, France, Ireland, and the UK published in tomorrow's Science about a dinosaur with preserved impressions of both feathers and scales.

Looking at Mesozoic-until-present dinosaur diversity, it's really quick to summarize dinosaur diversity into three main groups. There's sauropodomorphs, which include the familiar Apatosaurus and Brachiosaurus. They're sister to theropods, which include the extinct Tyrannosaurus and the extant chicken. And those two groups, together, are sister to ornithischians, which include the familiar Stegosaurus and Triceratops.

Most of the discoveries of feather impressions of dinosaurs are from theropods, which isn't very surprising because extant theropods have feathers. But recent discoveries of ornithischians have included two skin covering impressions that look like protofeathers: quilled structures emerging from the skin, covering at least part of the body with something other than scales.

This new species, Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, is a fellow ornithischian dinosaur. And its skin covering impressions are so good that we can see it has scales. And quilled structures. And multi-quill structures, which the authors are pulling no punches about and are calling feathers.


Since I'm not aiming to anger Science's copyright, here's a link to Dr. Hone's blog where he is hosting images of the fossil with the authors' permission, and here's Dr. Hone's writeup about the discovery/paper at The Guardian. Also here's Science talking about the discovery/paper. Also here's author Dr. Maria McNamara talking about the critter:

To summarize, I'll just borrow a quote from that last link:
Dr Godefroit added "Our new find clinches it: all dinosaurs had feathers or at least the potential to sprout feathers"


Also, here's a series of four videos with Dr. Godefroit, lead author of the paper, discussing the critter.