5 Apr 2012

Giant feathered dinosaur Yutyrannus discovered in China

It is by far the biggest feathered dinosaur ever to have been unearthed and raises intriguing questions as to why some of these scaly reptiles developed plumage. Three nearly complete skeletons of the dinosaur have been uncovered in beds of sediment in Liaoning province, north-eastern China, scientists reported in Nature.


The soil has been dated to around 125 million years ago to the mid-Cretaceous period, at the peak of the dinosaurs' long reign over the planet. The new species has been named Yutyrannus huali, an amalgam of Latin and Mandarin which means "beautiful feathered tyrant." "The feathers of Yutyrannus were simple filaments," said Xu Xing, a legendary fossil hunter from Beijing's Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology.