Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shaggy T. Rex Cousin Was Heftiest Feathered Dinosaur

Shaggy T. Rex Dinosaur

The recently unearthed tyrannosaur, named Yutyrannus huali or "stunning feathered tyrant," lived about 125 million years ago in northeastern China. The over 29-foot-long non-avian dinosaur, represented by three specimens, is significantly smaller than its notorious relative T. rex.

"The largest specimen conserve feathers on the tail, and two lesser specimens protect feathers over the neck, on the forelimbs, near the pelvis, and even feet," lead author Xing Xu, a lecturer at Beijing's Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, said.

Xu and his colleagues analyzed the remains of the three dinosaurs and exposed that patches of filamentous structures were near the frame on the slabs containing the specimens.

The researchers consider that when the dinosaurs were alive, these easy structures would have been additional like the hairy down of a contemporary infant chick than the stiff plumes of a mature bird.

"The dimension, structure and extent of the feathers suggests that they would have shaped a shaggy body covering that would have had at least some insulating purpose,"

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