New feathered dinosaur species discovered

(CNN) - Researchers have announced the discovery of a new, feathered dinosaur in the journal, “The Anatomical Record.”

A new dinosaur species called Wulong bohaiensis is offering researchers clues into the relationship between bird species and dinosaurs. | Source: Erick Toussaint via CNN

The dinosaur is called Wulong bohaiensis. The name “Wulong” translates to “the dancing dragon.” Its fossil was initially discovered in China more than 10 years ago. It was a bit larger than the common crow and had a narrow face with sharp teeth.

Scientists determined that the specimen was a juvenile by cutting into the fossil and analyzing its bones with a microscope.

Unlike most bird species, the Wulong had adult feathers before reaching full size.

“Either the young dinosaurs needed these tail feathers for some function we don’t know about, or they were growing their feathers really differently from most living birds,” says Ashley Poust of the San Diego Natural History Museum.

The Wulong also had feathers in a wing-like array on its arms and legs.

“Studying specimens like this not only shows us the sometimes surprising paths that ancient life has taken, but also allows us to test ideas about how important bird characteristics, including flight, arose in the distant past,” says Poust.

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