An accidental discovery near Liaoning Province has surprisingly led to a fancy bird-like dinosaur unearthing in China that has never been seen or noted before. Deemed as the “fluffy feathered poodle from hell”, the newly discovered species gained the formal name of Zhenyuanlong suni, a tribute to its main researcher Zhenyuan Sun combined with the word for “dragon” in Chinese.
Both nicknames were given quite justly, as the creature appeared to have an odd and vicious appearance that might look quite terrifying if ever displayed on the big screen in the next Jurassic Park movie. It was described to have short arms, with small, feathered-covered wings, tail and sharp teeth, enough to be deemed a carnivore.
What makes it different from the previous bird-like dinosaurs discovered are its flamboyantly-colored feathers, who reportedly had very limited use in term of flying. Instead, it has been deduced that the colorful display was used similar to that of a peacock, spreading its wings for flaunting to attract mates or intimidating enemies.
Zhenyuanlong suni was reportedly 5 feet long, making it the largest feathered bird-like dinosaurs ever discovered. Previously uncovered species were hardly the size of a cat, with long limbs and large wings that made them viable for flying. Things were different for the newly discovered creature, whose wings were more an accessory than a feat to deem it avian.
The possible reasons offered were that Zhenyuanlong suni was a very close cousin to velociraptors, the previous villains and now heroes of the Jurassic Park franchise. It seems that the movies have not depicted them very accurately, as raptors were discovered to have small feathers as well.
However, the discovery has been made after 1993 when the first movie was released, so the public has been accidentally led to a flawed image of raptors.
The Zhenyuanlong suni lived around 125 million ago, but it was discovered due to an almost perfectly preserved fossil in northeastern China, allowing for an accurate depiction of even its wings and a rather close reconstruction of what it might’ve looked like a very long time ago.
There is still a debate on how many dinosaurs were actually covered in feathers and, according to recent findings such as this, it’s becoming cleared that most might’ve had small, “quill like”, albeit useless feathers to go along with the scales.
Image source: ndtv.com