Science has discovered a new dinosaur! (Get on that, 'Jurassic World')
Remember in Jurassic World when our hero, Owen (our favorite, Chris Pratt) is shocked to learn that the theme park just went and made a new dinosaur? He even says, “You just went and made a new dinosaur?” like it’s a bad thing, because in the realm of Jurassic World, it is. So what do you think Owen would have to say about a brand new dinosaur being discovered, not made? No lab-grown DNA here.
Scientists at The University of Edinburgh and the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences believe that they have uncovered a brand new ancestor of the velociraptor — and this new dinosaur actually is thought to be older than the raptors. The fossil was discovered in north-east China and is being called the Zhenyuanlong, after a man named Zhenyuan, who found the fossil in limestone. It was then brought to a museum in Jinzhou where it could be studied and classified.
The fossil is 125 million years old (give or take a few days) and lead researcher Dr. Steve Brusatte describes Zhenyuanlong as, having, “short arms, and it is covered in feathers [with] proper wings with layers of quill-pen feathers…even though this is a dinosaur, even though it is a close relative of velociraptor, it looks exactly like a turkey or a vulture.” Now try and get the image of a giant dinosaur-like turkey chasing after Pratt out of your mind.
Even though Zhenyuanlong has wings and feathers, it’s unlikely it could fly due to its large body — 6 feet, 6 inches in this fossil, and according to the full report published in Nature, it’s missing half its tail. Scientists think the wings and feathers were used for protection, or “[moving] around in the trees” so the creature could glide, which honestly might be even more terrifying than a dinosaur chasing you on the ground.
You can check out the lengthy write up for the full discovery here (filled with so much dinosaur lingo!), along with more pictures, too. And you know what this means? For every new dinosaur discovery, we get another Jurassic World sequel.*
*not really, but we can dream.
(Images via Universal and Zhao Chuang)