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'Winged dragon' velociraptor fossil unearthed


Posted on Friday, 17 July, 2015 | Comment icon 17 comments

Many dinosaurs looked quite a lot like birds. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Salvatore Rabito Alcon
Scientists have discovered an ancestor of the velociraptor with distinctly bird-like traits.
Found preserved in limestone at the site of a volcanic eruption in China, the 6ft reptile dates back 125 million years and possesses features that indicate that it was on the cusp of becoming a bird.

Its discovery adds credence to the idea that many species of dinosaur, including velociraptors, were quite unlike the smooth-skinned hunters of the Jurassic Park movies but would have instead looked and behaved like large ground-dwelling birds with distinctive feather plumages.

"It will blow some people's minds to realize that those dinosaurs in the movies would have been even weirder, and I think even scarier - like big fluffy birds from hell," said Dr Steve Brusatte.
Because the new species was too heavy to be able to fly researchers now believe that its wings may have actually evolved as a display structure or as a way to help protect the eggs in its nest.

It's also possible that the wings helped the creatures glide from tree to tree in forest environments.

Whatever the case the new fossil has been hailed as particularly significant with Dr Brusatte describing it as "the single most beautiful fossil I have had the privilege to work on."

"This is the most exciting time maybe in the history of palaeontology," he said.

Source: BBC News | Comments (17)

Tags: Dinosaur

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by BeastieRunner on 17 July, 2015, 19:06
That looks like a mean SOB.
Comment icon #9 Posted by ShadowOfMothman on 17 July, 2015, 20:52
What? In 1993 paleontologist Paul Sereno and colleagues described Eoraptor and named the species, and determined it to be one of the earliest dinosaurs Its age was determined by several factors, not least because it lacked the specialized features of any of the major groups of later dinosaurs, including its lack of specialized predatory features. In 1995, Sereno posited that Eoraptor is the earliest recorded theropod, and is closest to "the hypothetical dinosaurian condition than any other dinosaurian subgroup." The precise placement of Eoraptor within Dinosauria has been unstable, with opinio... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by Hammerclaw on 18 July, 2015, 3:46
Alright. Lets say Eoraptor was indeed a basal theropod, not just a basal saurischian. Its place in the dinosaurian phylogenetic tree is debatable (perhaps it always will be). The thing is, my point that dinosauria appeared after the Permian extinction event, still stands. Also, as I said before, early theropods show no adaptations for flight whatsoever. Theropods have many birdlike features. The question I posit is whether birds acquired them from theropod ancestors, or did both theropods and the lineage that lead to true birds inherit them from a small arboreal common ancestor that radiated a... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by ShadowOfMothman on 18 July, 2015, 14:37
Theropods have many birdlike features. The question I posit is whether birds acquired them from theropod ancestors, or did both theropods and the lineage that lead to true birds inherit them from a small arboreal common ancestor that radiated after the Permian extinction. The way you phrased your question made it sound like theropods were already evolving into flying/avian forms before the Permian extinction. I don't think that we actually disagree.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Hammerclaw on 18 July, 2015, 14:40
The way you phrased your question made it sound like theropods were already evolving into flying/avian forms before the Permian extinction. I don't think that we actually disagree. I didn't think we did. It's a fascinating topic and I'm enjoying our conversation.
Comment icon #13 Posted by TheGreatBeliever on 18 July, 2015, 17:06
Waiting for jurassic park
Comment icon #14 Posted by pewdsfan13 on 18 July, 2015, 18:27
Fascinating
Comment icon #15 Posted by Zalmoxis on 19 July, 2015, 17:59
Looks like an insane and nasty chicken.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Athena1979 on 25 July, 2015, 1:13
KFC anyone?
Comment icon #17 Posted by Anomalocaris on 25 July, 2015, 1:42
lol a dinosaur in a birds body seriously those things don't know theyre basically just horned turkey ostriches they think theyre still velociraptors o.0


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