New Feathered Dinosaur Found

A new type of feathered dinosaur was recently found by a farmer on Northeast Chinese farmland. Even though it had feathers and even wings, they’re not for what one might assume. Even scientists are amazed at this new find.

Zhenyuanlong suni — the Feathered Dinosaur

The Zhenyuanlong suni, or the colloquially named Zhenyuanan’s dragon wandered the earth millions of years ago. It was discovered by a farmer in Northeast China while he was tending his land. Based on the fossil, the feathered dinosaur was about 6 feet (~2 m) long and would have weighed approximately 50 lbs (~ 23 kg). However, the Zhenyuanlong stands out from many of its dinosaur brethren with one interesting characteristic. It had wings as well as feathers that were likely very colorful.

Finding Zhenyuanan’s Dragon

The person who found it has decided to remain nameless to prevent fossil hunters from tearing up his farmland, though he did alert authorities of its presence. It was found in the fossil-rich Northeast China while the farmer was tending to his land. The fossil was taken to a Chinese museum where researchers Junchang Liu and Stephen Brusatte investigated it. The fossil was preserved very well except for its tail. The tail was completely gone from the sample, but Brusatte believes that it would have been very long.

What’s Odd about the Zhenyuanlong suni Dinosaur

It’s no news that many dinosaurs actually had feathers on them. This is information has been speculated about since the early 1990s. The interesting point with this feathered dinosaur is that it also has wings. What’s even more is that the Zhenyuanlong did not fly despite its wings and feathers. Because of the long feathers and short bones, it is very unlikely that this feathered dinosaur would have flown or even glided. Brusatte says that this is the biggest dinosaur they have found that still has wings, but it also has very short arms.

Since it didn’t fly, no one is positive what purpose the feathers served. Some speculate that they were evolved to protect its eggs, while others think that they were for displaying to ward off predators or attract a mate. It is thought to be in the Dromaeosauridae family of dinosaurs, the one that houses velociraptors, as it is around the same shape and size of velociraptors.


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