The one-of-a-kind specimen offers a window into what the earth was like 120 million years ago. The fossil preserves feathers and bones that provide new information about how dinosaurs grew and how they differed from birds.
"The new dinosaur fits in with an incredible radiation of feathered, winged animals that are closely related to the origin of birds," said Dr. Ashley Poust, who analyzed the specimens while he was a student at Montana State University and during his time as a Ph.D. student at University of California, Berkeley. Poust is now postdoctoral researcher at the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Specimens - Paths - Life - Ideas - Bird
"Studying specimens like this not only shows us the sometimes-surprising paths that ancient life has taken, but also allows us to test ideas about how important bird characteristics, including flight, arose in the distant past."
Scientists named the dinosaur Wulong bohaiensis. Wulong is Chinese for "the dancing dragon" and references the position of the beautifully articulated specimen.
Specimen - Decade - Farmer - China - Jehol
The specimen was found more than a decade ago by a farmer in China, in the fossil-rich Jehol Province, and since then has been housed in the collection of The Dalian Natural History Museum in Liaoning, a northeastern Chinese province bordering North Korea and the Yellow Sea. The skeletal bones were analyzed by Poust alongside his advisor Dr. David Varricchio from Montana State University while Poust was a student there.
Larger than a common crow and smaller than a raven, but with a long, bony tail which would have doubled its length, Wulong bohaiensis had a narrow face filled with sharp teeth. Its bones were thin and small, and the animal was covered with feathers, including a wing-like array on both its arms and legs and two long plumes at the end of its tail.
Animal - Relatives - Velociraptor - Theropod
This animal is one of the earliest relatives of Velociraptor, the famous dromaeosaurid theropod...
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