Click For Photo: https://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2019/03/190321102826_1_540x360.jpg
Chickens and ducks are up and about within hours of hatching, they are "precocial." Pigeons and eagles are "altricial," they stay in the nest and are looked after by their parents. How do you tell if a hatchling came "out of the egg running" or was "naked and helpless in the nest"? Feathers. When precocial birds hatch they have developed down feathers and partly developed large feathers and can keep warm and get around without mum's help. "Previous studies searched for but failed to find any hints of feathers on the Los Hoyas hatchling. This meant that its original lifestyle was a mystery," says Dr Pittman.
Michael Pittman and Thomas Kaye brought new technology to the study of Los Hoyas fossils in the form of a high power laser. This made very small chemical differences in the fossils become visible by fluorescing them different colours, revealing previously unseen anatomical details. They recently had tremendous success with the first discovered fossil feather which they disassociated from the famous early bird Archaeopteryx by recovering the chemical signature of its fossil quill, a key part of the feather's identification that had been previously unverified for ~150 years. The new results on the hatchling bird finally answered the question...
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