The past has always been perceived as the perfect way to build a future, considering we see things from an evolutionary perspective. Owning a perfectly realistic vision over the past allows us to watch and learn from our ancestors, assimilate what was best and walk further with what we have gained. Scientists are in a continuous quest to discover proofs of the past which could better explain the way our universe has evolved.
A team of scientists has recently discovered a very well preserved fossil in northeastern China, displaying a feathered dinosaur with wings resembling to those of a bird. Researchers doubt the creature could fly. This is presently the largest known dinosaur with wings, which has inhabited the earth 125 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period. The winged dinosaur is the oldest ancestor of the Velociraptor.
The creature was ideally preserved in limestone, due to a volcanic eruption that buried it in north-east China. The fossil suggests that many other dinosaurs could have looked like this one, described as “big, fluffy killer birds”.
The perfectly preserved proof of wildlife which dates back millions of years ago was designed with proper wings, covered in feathers. The creature was able to run fast, was obviously a carnivorous dinosaur and was 6 feet long. Zhenyuanlong, as the scientists named it, was extremely long and protected by hair-fluff over a wide portion of its whole body.
The name of this newly discovered dinosaur was offered in the honor of the researcher who took the fossil to the museum in Jinzhou, allowing experts to study it in detail. An expert notes that this is “the single most beautiful fossil I have had the privilege to work on”.
Although the dinosaur was designed with wings, scientists concluded that it did not fly. They don’t have an evolutionary answer to explain why is it that the dinosaur bird did not use its body at its full potential. One possible hypothesis might be that this particular species could have evolved from other winged dinosaurs, able to fly.
The recently discovered species could be the very old ancestor of birds. Scientists noted that wings in dinosaurs “evolved for display or protecting eggs and then later were co-opted into an airfoil for flight”. Scientists believe that Zhenyuanlong had extremely colorful feathers, much resembling to those of modern birds. The inability to fly could be a consequence of its large body mass which had made it unable to fly. Evolution has made animal life evolve into smaller and more ergonomic shapes, allowing for wings to be used properly. Ancestor of the Velociraptor is one of the best preserved fossils ever to be found and opens paths for further research that could shed light on wildlife evolution.
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