A new elaborately feathered dinosaur is the largest ever discovered to have a well-preserved set of bird-like wings, according to a new study.
The new 5-foot-long dino, Zhenyuanlong suni, not only provides intriguing clues about the evolution of feathers, but it also busts myths about one of its close cousins, Velociraptor, a dinosaur made famous by the Jurassic Park movies.
"Look at Zhenyuanlong and you're probably seeing, more or less, what a real Velociraptor would have looked like," senior author Stephen Brusatte told Discovery News.
"Velociraptor would have been a feisty little feathered poodle from hell, not a drab scaly reptilian monster like in the Jurassic Park films," added Brusatte, who is a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences. He co-authored the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, with paleontologist Junchang Lüof of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences.
The scientists came to their conclusions after studying the near-complete and exceptionally well-preserved skeleton for Z. suni, which lived around 125 million years ago in what is now the Liaoning Province of northeastern China. Like Velociraptor, it was a dromaeosaurid -- fast-running, feathered, sickled-clawed dinosaurs that were close relatives of birds.