New feathered dinosaur found

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La Striata
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New feathered dinosaur found

Post by La Striata » Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:28 am

Zhenyuanlong suni: biggest ever winged dinosaur is found in China

Beautifully preserved skeleton fossil discovered of raptor two metres long with impressive plumage that lived 125m years ago in northeastern China

An ancient feathered creature dug up in northeastern China is the largest winged dinosaur ever found, researchers say.

The fossil of the prehistoric raptor is so well preserved that scientists have been able to reconstruct its impressive plumage, from the tiny feathers on its head and neck, to the larger quill pen-like feathers that sprout from its tail and substantial wings.

A cousin of the Velociraptor made famous by the Jurassic Park movies, the carnivore two metres in length lived 125m years ago in the region where dense forests became home to some of the first flowering plants.

Named Zhenyuanlong suni, the new species shared the land with a huge variety of other creatures. Dinosaurs were abundant, among them Yutyrannus huali, the “feathered tyrant”. On the ground beneath their feet lived salamanders, amphibians and plenty of mammals, including the badger-sized beast, repenomamus, which dined on dead dinosaurs.

The near complete skeleton of the feathered raptor was found in sedimentary rock that formed in ancient lake beds in China’s Liaoning Province. The Yixian formation there has become a treasure trove of exquisitely-preserved dinosaurs, many of which sported feathers.

“It’s the biggest dinosaur that has ever been found with wings,” said Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at Edinburgh University. “In general it is very bird-like, but it’s big, and has these very short arms with full-blown wings.” Details of the discovery are published in the journal, Scientific Reports.

The specimen poses a conundrum for researchers, because despite its impressive wings, the animal was probably incapable of flight. Brusatte said their function was a mystery, but they might have been used in colourful sexual displays, just as peacocks parade their tail feathers to court peafowls. Another possibility is that the dinosaur used its wings to protect its eggs.

The discovery raises broader questions about how wings evolved in the first place. Small, fluffy feathers are thought to have arisen for warmth, with more elaborate feather structures emerging for displays, and ultimately flight.

But Brusatte said that wings themselves might have evolved for reasons other than flight, before they helped creatures take to the skies.

“When you see a dinosaur like this that’s pretty big, and has these short arms and bird-like wings, it begs that question: what are wings really for? We used to think pretty much anything that had wings was flying, but that’s not so clear now,” he said.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015 ... ered-china
I take issue with it being labeled the "biggest winged dinosaur", as Oviraptorsaurs also had wings, and one of them (Gigantoraptor) was the size of an elephant.
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Re: New feathered dinosaur found

Post by Chumpkins_ » Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:38 am

Winged dinosaurs are my favorite, it's always interesting when a new one is discovered.
I'm also not to sure about it being the largest winged dinosaur.
Thanks for posting!
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Re: New feathered dinosaur found

Post by La Striata » Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:51 pm

WickedTrickster wrote:
Winged dinosaurs are also my favorite, but sadly they died out hundreds of year ago and are now extinct . I wish I could see one if these amazing new species in person but sadly i cant. Thanks for posting this though!
Technically, birds are surviving dinosaurs. If you mean "non-avian" dinosaurs, they went extinct a lot longer ago than a few hundred years.
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Re: New feathered dinosaur found

Post by Granger » Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:18 pm

Very neat find!! Definitely sounds like the wings would be used for attracting mates and the like if they are incapable of flight.
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Re: New feathered dinosaur found

Post by Kairah » Sun Oct 25, 2015 2:50 pm

Thanks for sharing!

I think the wings could have also been used for intmidation. The article mentions they could be used for the protection of eggs, but they could protect themselves and/or their pack by intimidating other animals with those wings too.
Those wings may not have let them fly, but they could have make them look a lot bigger.
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