A new species of feathered dinosaur has been discovered in China, and described by American and Chinese authors and published on Thursday, January 16, in the journal, The Anatomical Record.
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.
“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.