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Winged & Feathered Dinosaur Discovered in China
Jul 20, 2015

An ancient feathered creature dug up in northeastern China is the largest winged dinosaur ever found. 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 spotted feathers.

Key Features

  • 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.

  • It's a dinosaur with huge wings made up of quill pen feathers, just like an eagle or a vulture.

  • A cousin of the Velociraptor, the carnivore two metres in length lived 125 million 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. 

  • On the ground beneath their feet lived salamanders, amphibians and plenty of mammals, including the badger-sized beast, repenomamus, which dined on dead dinosaurs.

  • It is the biggest dinosaur that has ever been found with wings. In general it is very bird-like, but it’s big, and has these very short arms with full-blown wings.


The specimen poses a conundrum for researchers, because despite its impressive wings, the animal was probably incapable of flight. Their function was a mystery, but a possibility is that the dinosaur used its wings to protect its eggs. 

 


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