A team of paleontologists has recently unearthed the fossils of a new species of dinosaur bird in northeastern China. According to them, it’s winged dinosaur that had feathers on its body but could not use them for flying or gliding. They said the dinosaur had small wings compared to the size of its body, which would have made it impossible for it to fly.
The new species of dinosaur bird is a distant relative of the infamous meat-eater Velociraptor and its official name is Zhenyuanlong suni. The prehistoric creature measured approximately 6 feet in length and weighed more than 40 pounds. After closely analyzing the fossilized remains, the experts in paleontology determined that the dinosaur lived more than 125 million years ago.
Junchang Lü, researcher at the Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, said the new discovery indicates that feathered dinosaurs were a more diverse species than it was previously believed.
According to Lu, what differentiates this new species of dinosaur bird from other winged prehistoric animals is that it had very colored wings that were not used for flying. Lu noted that unlike other species of winged dinosaurs, this one had three layers of feathers on his wings that were very complex and looked like quill pens, rather than regular feathers.
The newly discovered species of dinosaur was close related to the Velociraptor, which became famous after “starring” in the Hollywood blockbuster Jurassic Park. The paleontologists said the dinosaur bird was fairly big, with arms shorter than its body. They believe that because of this, the creature was unable to fly or glide, but used its colorful wings to attract mating partners or to intimidate rivals, just like peacocks do. Some believe the ancient bird used its wings to brood its eggs in the nest.
The researchers said that finding a species of dinosaur with traits like those of the newly found Zhenyuanlong, raises some questions about the original purpose of wings in animals. The species that were discovered previously were not bigger than a cat, had long limbs and wings that they used for flying. Scientists believe that modern birds descended from small winged dinosaurs, such as the Archaeopteryx, a dinosaur bird no bigger than a crow, and the oldest known bird ancestor which lived more than 150 million years ago.
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