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161mln-year-old rainbow dinosaur fossil discovered in China

2018/1/18 9:09:49   source:China Plus

A group of researchers have revealed new details about a fossil of a winged dinosaur they've been studying which lived in what is now northeastern China 161 million years ago, reports Reuters.

The near complete fossil was unearthed in Hebei in 2014.

Research has now concluded that the duck-sized dinosaur - dubbed Cai Hong Ju Ji, or Rainbow with a Big Crest in English - had iridescent feathers on its head and neck.

Scientists were able to determine the color of its feathers through the detection of cell structures that are similar to those of hummingbirds with iridescent feathers.

Scientists suspect the Cai Hong's colorful feathers likely helped it attract mates rather than fly.

They also believe what we know as modern-day birds evolved from small feathered dinosaurs near the end of the Jurassic Period. Cai Hong and the earliest known bird lived 11 million years apart.

The discovery of the Cai Hong fossil "suggests a more colorful Jurassic World than we previously imagined," said evolutionary biologist Chad Eliason from the Field Museum in Chicago.

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