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Microraptor suggests feathers evolved to attract mates

Julia Clarke, assistant professor of paleontology, discusses how a feathered tail on birds may have evolved as a function of communication and not of aerodynamics.

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Julia Clarke, associate professor of paleontology at the Jackson School of Geosciences, discusses how a tail shape with feathers may have originated as a function of communication rather than aerodynamics, which came later in the evolution of flight.

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Credit for home page banner image: Artist’s recreation of Microraptor with iridescent plumage. Credit: Jason Brougham/U. of Texas at Austin.