Researchers explain how alligators could solve dinosaurs' feather mystery

A group of researchers have published a study which claims that in ancient time birds had developed scales and on the other hand dinosaurs used to have feathers from head to tail.

Scientists discover remains of Brazil's largest dinosaur
Picture for representation Reuters

Do you know that prehistoric dinosaurs had developed feathers like birds along with their scales? Scientists are trying to dig up the real truth behind such unusual characteristics.

A group of researchers have published their findings in journal 'Molecular Biology and Evolution' stating that ancient birds used to have scales.

The lead author, Cheng-Ming Choung, a professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine has manipulated the genes of alligators to reveal the truth and it helped to find some clues about how dinosaur scales had started to change into feathers.

The research group has studied feather-forming genes in modern birds and applied it to alligator's embryos. Later they claimed that the genes have changed alligator scales into feathers.

During Jurassic era including dinosaurs, birds also used to grow scales and according to Prof Chuong from the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, both belong to 'Archosaur reptiles' family. It was claimed before that all dinosaurs had protofeathers and according to an early study called 'A Jurassic ornithischian dinosaur from Siberia with both feathers and scales,' Researchers said that it might be possible that prehistoric creatures could have had feathers.

On the other hand, Pascal Godefroit, the lead author of this study told The Washington Post, "It's impossible that they flew. They were bipedal and had long legs with very, very short arms."

A 130-million-year-old fossil dinosaur covered with feathers is on display 25 April 2001
A 130-million-year-old fossil dinosaur covered with feathers is on display 25 April 2001 Reuters

On April 25, 2001, a group of American and Chinese scientists had announced that a 130-year-old fossil dinosaur was discovered. It was the first ancient Jurassic creature found, who was covered from head to tail with feathers and downy fluff and that was the first evidence on the feather mystery of dinosaurs.

However, compared to modern birds, alligators are still carrying some forms of their ancestors. So researchers have decided to study alligators to find clues for dinosaur's feather.

Now, the researchers are trying to apply their research on humans, as they have planned to make a joint venture with plastic surgeons to see how their research would help human scar tissues.