SCIENCE

Newly Discovered Winged Dinosaur Proves 'Jurassic World' Wrong

And adds to the mystery of the evolution of flight.

 

So, this is how the Velociraptors in "Jurassic World" should have looked.

A team of researchers recently unearthed dinosaur fossils in China -- and the well-preserved fossils suggest that the filmmakers behind the summer blockbuster may have gotten the dinosaur all wrong.

"The real Velociraptors would have been a feathery, fluffy, winged Chickens from Hell," Dr. Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland who helped discover the fossils, told The Huffington Post in an email. 

The fossils belonged to a close relative of the Velociraptor, named Zhenyuanlong suni, which was around 6 feet long, 40 pounds, and lived some 125 million years ago.

The fossils, which make up a near-complete skeleton, reveal that Zhenyuanlong suni may have sported a set of birdlike wings. But, according to the researchers, the feathered dinosaur likely couldn't fly as the wings appear to have been too short and weak to lift its body. 

"Maybe wings in dinosaurs evolved for display or protecting eggs, and then later were co-opted into an airfoil used for flight," Bursatte said in the email. "We don't have a good answer to this question. Sometimes new fossils provide more questions than answers, and this is one of those fossils."

 Whatever those wings were for, this is one dinosaur we're pretty sure we'd rather encounter on screen than in real life.

A paper describing the fossil discovery was published on July 16, 2015 in the journal Scientific Reports.

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