- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It was over five-feet long, was covered in long feathers, had short arms, talons to reckon with and resembled the Velociraptor - one of the starring monsters of the “Jurrasic Park” films. Meet Zhenyuanlong, a newly discovered species that even surprised the scientists who examined the 125 million-year-old, intact fossil - described as a winged and feathered dragon, and the largest on record.

“This new dinosaur is one of the closest cousins of Velociraptor, but it looks just like a bird. It’s a dinosaur with huge wings made up of quill pen feathers, just like an eagle or a vulture. The movies have it wrong - this is what Velociraptor would have looked like,” said Steve Brusatte, a palaentologist with the University of Edinburgh, who was among the first to look the creature over.

He described it as the “most beautiful” specimen he’d ever worked with.

Its wings and tail were covered with layer upon layer of dense, complex layers of colorful feathers, the research team said. The feathers are clearly visible in the fossil, unearthed by a farmer in northeastern China who wished to remain anonymous. The fossil is “exquisitely preserved,” the team says.

The research was published this month By Mr. Brusatte and co-author Junchang Lu of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences in Scientific Reports, an  academic journal.


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