These days the warm or at least tepid-blooded dinosaur is a full blown theory with lots of evidence. And the convinction that dinos and birds are related has been growing. But I doubt if anybody predicted this.
On Friday the National Geographic online had this headline: Siberian Discovery Suggests Almost All Dinosaurs Were Feathered.
Yes, dinosaurs were the things with feathers. First there were a few species discovered in China that definitely had lots of feathers. But now: "This does mean that we can now be very confident that feathers weren't just an invention of birds and their closest relatives, but evolved much deeper in dinosaur history," he adds. "I think that the common ancestor of dinosaurs probably had feathers, and that all dinosaurs had some type of feather, just like all mammals have some type of hair."
Think about all those dinosaur models, all the books and dino toys that boys love. How fierce and formidable they look, how warlike and ready for titanic battles, just like in the movies.
It's easy to overlook that most were vegetarians anyway. But now they aren't plated, smooth hard-skinned streamlined for action huge roaring beasts. They're fluffy.
The article goes on to say that this doesn't mean all the dinos were covered with feathers like birds. They may have had just a bit of fluff here and there, especially the bigger ones. But still. The roaring towering dinosaur image is likely utterly shot.
Just why dinos had feathers is still a mystery. What exactly did all these different feathers do? "I don't know; nobody knows for sure," Godefroit says. "These animals couldn't fly, that's all we can tell you."
Man, feathers and they can't even fly and swoop down, or attack in formation or anything. Maybe not so red in tooth in claw after all, that leaf-munching tyrannosaurus fluffy.