May 07, 2017 03:51 AM EDT
An interesting new species of troodontid has been discovered by scientists from Hong Kong, China and Canada. It is an impressive "giant chicken with teeth" and asymmetric feathers.
Experts published their findings in the journal Nature Communications. The team is certain that the finding extends the emergence of a certain characteristic back into time. This fossil of troodontid was fairly well-preserved. The team hit upon it in Lioaning, a region in China with a lot of other well-preserved fossils. This amazing, new specimen goes back to 125 million years ago. It is called Jianianhualong tengi.
The important characteristic of the troodontid specimen is its asymmetrical feathers in its tail, which made scientists sure that such feathers were found in its arms and legs too. It also has long, stiff quills and barbs that are longer on one side than on the other. These kind of feathers are the first to be found on a troodontid, according to Next Shark. Earlier research said that it is an important feature that could make birds fly.
This bird-like dinosaur is about three feet tall and covered in plumage. However, was it able to fly, wonder scientists, according to Phys.org. The new finding also gives some insight into evolution of animal flight from bird-like dinosaurs to eventually birds. This is a specimen that belongs to a group called troodontids. The troodontid member of a bigger group includes birds - both modern and extinct.
Scientists found that the legs and skull of J. tengi looked like later troodontids. However, its pelvis and arms seemed like earlier species. Hence, J. tengi was an intermediary specimen in the evolution towards flight.
The creature's position in the phylogenetic tree and the asymmetric feathers makes it a common ancestor of troodontids and birds. Hence, the creature's link is pushed back further into time.
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