Feathered dinosaur find is biggest yet

April 4, 2012 at 5:32 PM
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BEIJING, April 4 (UPI) -- Chinese paleontologists say dinosaur fossils found in the northeast of the country represent the biggest feathered dinosaur ever found.

While smaller than Tyrannosaurus rex, the new species, at up to 30 feet long and weighing more than 3,000 pounds, is 40 times heavier than the largest feathered dinosaur known previously, LiveScience.com reported Wednesday.

The new species has been dubbed Yutyrannus huali, meaning "beautiful feathered tyrant."

"Yutyrannus dramatically increases the size range of dinosaurs for which we have definite evidence of feathers," Xing Xu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing said in a statement. "It's possible that feathers were much more widespread, at least among the meat-eating dinosaurs, than most scientists would have guessed even a few years ago."

Three well-preserved fossils of the species were found in Liaoning province.

"The feathers of Yutyrannus were simple filaments," Xu said. "They were more like the fuzzy down of a modern baby chick than the stiff plumes of an adult bird."

The feathers weren't for flight but to keep the large dinosaur warm, Xu said.

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