The Evolutionary Origin And Diversification Of Feathers

  title={The Evolutionary Origin And Diversification Of Feathers},
  author={Richard O. Prum and Alan H. Brush},
  journal={The Quarterly Review of Biology},
  pages={261 - 295}
  • R. Prum, A. Brush
  • Published 1 September 2002
  • Biology
  • The Quarterly Review of Biology
Progress on the evolutionary origin and diversification of feathers has been hampered by conceptual problems and by the lack of plesiomorphic feather fossils. Recently, both of these limitations have been overcome by the proposal of the developmental theory of the origin of feathers, and the discovery of primitive feather fossils on nonavian theropod dinosaurs. The conceptual problems of previous theories of the origin of feathers are reviewed, and the alternative developmental theory is… 
The developmental theory proposes that feathers evolved through a series of evolutionary novelties in developmental mechanisms of the follicle and feather germ, and the discovery of primitive feather fossils on nonavian theropod dinosaurs helps make the first concrete conclusions about the evolutionary origin of feathers.
Phylogenetic Context for the Origin of Feathers 1
Current evidence strongly suggests that birds are theropod dinosaurs, and that the most primitive known feathers are found on nonflying animals, which suggests that feathers did not evolve as flight structures.
Phylogenetic Context for the Origin of Feathers1
Current evidence strongly suggests that birds are theropod dinosaurs, and that the most primitive known feathers are found on non-flying animals, which suggests that feathers did not evolve as flight structures.
Feathered dinosaurs from China and the evolution of major avian characters.
An evolutionary model is proposed here to describe the major stages of feather evolution, a process characterized by a combination of both transformational and innovative modifications.
The early evolution of feathers: fossil evidence from Cretaceous amber of France
Fossil evidence of an intermediate and critical stage in the incremental evolution of feathers which has been predicted by developmental theories but hitherto undocumented by evidence from both the recent and the fossil records is reported.
Filamentous Integuments in Nonavialan Theropods and Their Kin: Advances and Future Perspectives for Understanding the Evolution of Feathers
F fossil specimens will continue to provide key data for the reconstruction and documentation of the evolutionary history of feathers, including evolutionary experiments and forms that no longer occur in nature.
Five major morphogenesis events are inferred to have occurred sequentially early in feather evolution before the origin of the Aves, and the function of the first feather is inferred to be neither related to flight nor to insulation.
S06-1 Follicles and the origin of feathers
A phylogeny for feathers based on morphology and molecular information indicates that the most likely common ancestor was a simple, tubular epidermal filament derived from a conical tubercle, and this model is sufficient to account for all features of the feather character.
Exceptional dinosaur fossils show ontogenetic development of early feathers
An early-juvenile specimen and a late- juvenile specimen, both referable to the oviraptorosaur Similicaudipteryx, recovered from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of western Liaoning, China are described, suggesting that early feathers were developmentally more diverse than modern ones and that some developmental features have been lost in feather evolution.
New specimen of Archaeopteryx provides insights into the evolution of pennaceous feathers
An analysis of the phylogenetic distribution of pennaceous feathers on the tail, hindlimb and arms of advanced maniraptorans and basal avialans strongly indicates that these structures evolved in a functional context other than flight, most probably in relation to display, as suggested by some previous studies.


Development and evolutionary origin of feathers.
  • R. Prum
  • Biology
    The Journal of experimental zoology
  • 1999
A functionally neutral model of the origin and evolutionary diversification of bird feathers based on the hierarchical details of feather development is proposed, predicting that feathers originated with the evolution of the first feather follicle-a cylindrical epidermal invagination around the base of a dermal papilla.
Branched integumental structures in Sinornithosaurus and the origin of feathers
Observations of the filamentous integumental appendages of the basal dromaeosaurid dinosaur Sinornithosaurus millenii indicate that they are compound structures composed of multiple filaments that are unique to avian feathers, which strongly corroborate the hypothesis that the integumentals of SinORNithosaurus are homologous with avan feathers.
The Evolution of Feathers *
The hypothesis is put foward that feathers evolved due to selection for a water‐repellent integument because a porous surface repels water drops more strongly than does a solid surface of the same material.
Archaeopteryx and the Origin of Flight
The primordial insulative function of contour feathers and the predatory hypothesis for the enlargement of the remiges seem to account for the otherwise paradoxical presence in Archaeopteryx on essentially modern "flight" feathers.
On the origin of feathers
Analysis of extant structure and information on development is used to reconstruct key events in the evolution of feathers, revealing Amino‐acid composition, shape, and behavior of feather keratins are unique among vertebrates.
The origin and evolution of birds
Ornithologist and evolutionary biologist Alan Feduccia, author of "Age of Birds," here draws on fossil evidence and studies of the structure and biochemistry of living birds to present knowledge and data on avian evolution and propose a model of this evolutionary process.
The Development of the Sauropsid Integument: A Contribution to the Problem of the Origin and Evolution of Feathers1
Abstract Developmental anatomical data are insufficient to discuss plausible intermediates between an ancestral, scaled, reptilian skin and appendage-bearing, avian skin. We also review adult tissue
The Evolutionary Origin of Feathers
  • P. Regal
  • Environmental Science
    The Quarterly Review of Biology
  • 1975
The development of feathers is complex and a model is proposed that gives attention to the fundamental problems of deriving a branched structure with a cylindrical base from an elongated scale.
The origin and early evolution of birds
There is no evidence for a major or mass extinction of birds at the end of the Cretaceous, nor for a sudden ‘bottleneck’ in diversity that fostered the early Tertiary origination of living bird ‘Orders’.
The Evolutionary Origin of Feathers: A Problem Demanding Interdisciplinary Communication1
It is concluded that, in many aspects, avian skin resembles that of reptiles more than that of mammals, and there are surprising gaps in knowledge of the structure, function, and physiology of avianskin.