Did Pterodactyls Have Feathers, and Does It Matter?

Matthew A. McLain, PhD
Chair of the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences
Associate Professor of Biology and Geology
The Master’s University, Santa Clarita, CA 91354

Published: Spring 2023, Issue 2, pp. 5—28
DOI: doi.org/10.55409/math3ma2023021

Abstract: Pterosaurs — extinct, flying reptiles known only from fossils — are often thought to have been covered in scales or naked skin. In actuality, fossil evidence shows that these creatures had a kind of fuzz covering their bodies called pycnofibres. Recently, some researchers have claimed that pycnofibres are actually a type of feather and that this has bearing on the evolution of birds. In this article, we will explore the evidence for pycnofibres, whether pycnofibres are feathers, and how a young-earth creationist should think through this topic.