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Largest-ever feathered dinosaur discovered in China

(Xinhua)

08:34, April 06, 2012

Photo provided by the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, shows skull fossil of the bizarre species of giant feathered dinosaur in Beijing, capital of China, April 5, 2012. Palaeontologists of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said on Thursday they have found a bizarre species of giant feathered dinosaur, which is by far the biggest feathered dinosaur ever to have been unearthed. Three nearly complete skeletons of the dino have been uncovered in beds of sediment in northeast China's Liaoning Province, the scientists reported in "Nature". (Xinhua/Wu Jingjing)

BEIJING, April 5 (Xinhua) -- Scientists have discovered a new species of dinosaur, the largest-ever feathered dinosaur, in northeast China's Liaoning province.

A statement released by the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences on Thursday said that the new species is a close relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex. Its name "Yutyrannus huali," is a combination of Latin and Chinese and means "beautifully feathered tyrant."

Fossils previously discovered in the province have indicated that some small dinosaurs had bird-like feathers, whereas three fossil specimens of the new tyrannosauroid from the same region show that at least one much larger dinosaur had a feathery coat as well, the statement said.

Chinese and Canadian scientists also published the new discovery in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

The Yutyrannus is believed to have lived during the Early Cretaceous period around 125 million years ago.

"The feathers of Yutyrannus were simple filaments," said Professor Xu Xing, research fellow at the institute and the lead author of the study. "They were more like the fuzzy down of a modern baby chick than the stiff plumes of an adult bird."

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