T. rex had a fine
Fossils of generously plumed
dino found in northeast China
fluffy,” says Mark Norell, a paleontolo-
gist at the American Museum of Natural
History in New York City.
The biggest of the newly described
creatures — the largest extensively
feathered dino known to date— was
about one-quarter the weight of Tyran-
nosaurus rex, its relative and fellow
meat-eater. The new species is named
Yutyrannus huali, which translates to
“beautiful feathered tyrant.”
The species’ feathers were at least 15
centimeters long and appear to have cov-
ered the dinosaur’s skin, which would
have given it a shaggy appearance, says
study coauthor Corwin Sullivan of the
Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology
and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese
Academy of Sciences in Beijing. Still, the
full extent of the plumage isn’t known
because the specimens aren’t complete.
What the feathers were for remains
unclear. They might have helped the
By Rebecca Cheung
From 125-million-year-old rocks, scientists have unearthed the remains of
a new species of extensively feathered
dinosaur that weighed up to about 1,400
kilograms and stretched 9 meters from
nose to tail.
The fossils, from one adult and two
juveniles, were found in northeast China
in a region known for keeping soft tissues of ancient animals well-preserved,
scientists report April 5 in Nature.
“It changes the way we really look at
things — from these big, scaly, Jurassic
Park animals to ones that were big and
Yutyrannus (artist’s impression shown)
is the largest feather-covered dinosaur
species discovered to date.
dinosaurs show off and attract mates.
Until now, all known full-feathered
dinosaurs have been much smaller, and
more likely to lose body heat because of
their size. So these petite creatures may
have used a fluffy layer to stay warm.
The newfound dinos also may have
needed insulation, Sullivan says. But
Norell isn’t convinced. Many large animals that live in warm climates, such as
modern giraffes, have external covering
but don’t need it for insulation, he says.
Yutyrannus had a high, bumpy nose
plate, and Sullivan speculates that full-grown it stood about 2. 5 meters tall.
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