Discussions by Yann Oliver
Feathers have been obtained by genetic manipulations from a type of bird foot scales, the scutes. More precisely, feathers were obtained by inhibiting the action of some proteins. This could perhaps mean (but not automatically) that the feathers are primitive and the scutes evolved from them, and, known that dinosaurs and crocodiles had scutes, perhaps feathers were already present in their common ancestor. However, this hypothesis is not well-established.
Up: The feathered dinosaurs