ELI5, Why didn’t paleontologists considered feathers on dinosaurs earlier even though archaeopteryx was discovered in 1860s ?

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ELI5, Why didn’t paleontologists considered feathers on dinosaurs earlier even though archaeopteryx was discovered in 1860s ?

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The idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs has been around for a long time now, but also for a long time we had no solid evidence for feathers on dinosaurs which they evolved from. Of course paleontologists had educated guesses about them being related to theropods, and therefore that it could have been an ancestral trait, but in science evidence is king.

What paleontologists DID have fossils of was skin imprints of bony scutes and scales. Naked dinos.

So it took until after the 90s, when fossil evidence of feathered dinosaurs that were not a bird transitional form was found, that the suspicions were finally confirmed.

Feathers were debated by paleontologists since it was discovered that birds evolved from dinosaurs. However we did not know when or how feathers evolved. The theory was that feathers evolved to improve bird flight and that the first birds, like archaeopteryx were some of the earliest creatures with feather like structures. We know from other flying animals then birds that feathers are not required for flight, but they help. So when the first artists impressions of dinosaurs were created they were not given feathers.

Even later on when more and more evidence showed that feathers evolved much sooner then first thought and that a lot of dinosaurs would have had feathers artists would still omit them for various reasons. There was a discussion for “Jurassic Park” about feathers but it was thought it would make the dinosaurs look silly and that the feather theory was still not well enough proved.