Scientists in China recently discovered the fossils of a new type of dinosaur that was both a close cousin of the Velociraptor and likely feathered—offering more evidence that the vicious dinosaur we know from Jurassic Park actually looked more like a (scary) bird.
According to research published in Scientific Reports on Thursday, the fossil belongs to a new, winged but flightless species dubbed Zhenyuanlong suni.
Alive, it may have looked something like this:
In a commentary on the findings, report co-author Stephen Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh explained that the discovery should disabuse us of the Jurassic Park-/World-fueled notion that Velociraptors are scaly. Brusatte writes:
"The real Velociraptor was a lapdog-sized predator covered in feathers."
Lapdog-sized, maybe, but not lapdog-like in demeanor. The scientist continues:
"Far from being a scaly-skinned reptilian monster, Velociraptor would have been a fluffy, feathered poodle from hell."
Brusatte explained that the Zhenyuanlong fossils were preserved in a way that allowed him and his team to conclude that the dinosaur was feathered. The research gives even more credence to earlier findings that the comparable Velociraptors were feathered, as well. The more you know.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.