Sciencespeak: Pycnofiber

Pterosaurs were into fuzz before dinosaurs. That's true in a historical sense, at least.

In 1831, over a decade before the word "dinosaur" had even been coined, the German paleontologist August Goldfuss mentioned that a small pterosaur he had studied seemed to have a coat of mammal like "fur". This was strange. Even though some naturalists had proposed that pterosaurs were weird proto-bats, the consensus was that they were reptiles. Why should reptiles have a fluffy coat? Perhaps it was another indication, as some paleontologists suspected, that pterosaurs were highly-active animals with mammal-like metabolisms and a need to stay warm.

The fossil Goldfuss described wasn't an anomaly. As the decades ...

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