, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 81–86

Feather-like development of Triassic diapsid skin appendages


  • Sebastian Voigt
    • Geologisches InstitutTechnische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg
    • Geologisches InstitutTechnische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg
  • Jan Fischer
    • Geologisches InstitutTechnische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg
  • Daniel Krause
    • Institut für GeowissenschaftenMartin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
  • Robert Georgi
    • Geologisches InstitutTechnische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00114-008-0453-1

Cite this article as:
Voigt, S., Buchwitz, M., Fischer, J. et al. Naturwissenschaften (2009) 96: 81. doi:10.1007/s00114-008-0453-1


Of the recent sauropsid skin appendage types, only feathers develop from a cylindrical epidermal invagination, the follicle, and show hierarchical branching. Fossilized integuments of Mesozoic diapsids have been interpreted as follicular and potential feather homologues, an idea particularly controversially discussed for the elongate dorsal skin projections of the small diapsid Longisquama insignis from the Triassic of Kyrgyzstan. Based on new finds and their comparison with the type material, we show that Longisquama’s appendages consist of a single-branched internal frame enclosed by a flexible outer membrane. Not supporting a categorization either as feathers or as scales, our analysis demonstrates that the Longisquama appendages formed in a two-stage, feather-like developmental process, representing an unusual early example for the evolutionary plasticity of sauropsid integument.


Fossilized integumentSkin appendageFeather evo-devoLongisquama

Supplementary material

114_2008_453_MOESM1_ESM.xls (116 kb)
Electronic supplementary material S1Complete data table. (XLS 115 KB)
114_2008_453_MOESM2_ESM.xls (80 kb)
Electronic supplementary material S2Table of data displayed in Fig. 2b. (XLS 79.5 KB)
114_2008_453_MOESM3_ESM.xls (84 kb)
Electronic supplementary material S3Multivariate analysis. (XLS 84.0 KB)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008