Feathers existed before birds
Some dinosaurs had feathers, long before birds - life short science news

After analyzing 250-million-year-old fossils from China, paleontologists have discovered that pterosaurs had feathers, long before birds had evolved.

The function of these early feathers was probably insulation. Other functions, such as flying and courtship, came probably much later.

As the genetic program underlying the development of scales in reptiles, feathers in birds, and hairs in mammals is essentially similar, it is indeed possible that feathers appeared before birds did.

Read the full story: University of Bristol
Scientific publication: Trends in Ecology & Evolution