A small egg flying dinosaur that lived more than 150 million years could help explain a key phase in the evolution of birds, say Chinese researchers.
The findings of paleontologists appear in the latest issue of Nature, where they admit the little dinosaur was "bizarre".
Nicknamed Epidexipteryx Today was a distant relative of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, but no bigger than a kitten.
And even if it was covered with feathers, he could not fly.
The creature lived between 152 and 168 million years, according to the analysis of the fossil, found in Daohugou in Inner Mongolia, northern China.
And 'two feet was a predator, known therapod, who lived in the middle to late Jurassic period between 152 and 168 million years ago.
Probably weighed no more than 160 grams and fed opportunistically on eggs it found or has been, according to the newspaper.
E. hui lived shortly before the famous Archaeopteryx, which arrived on the scene about 150 million years ago and is widely regarded as the first bird.
Despite its many dinosaur features, Archaeopteryx, thought to have been capable of powered flight.
Role of feathers
One of the many questions about the "early bird" scenario is exactly why dinosaurs evolved feathers.
He feathers provide warmth, for example, or a means of flight, for a tree of life dino to jump or glide to safety from a position or find food?
The Chinese team, led by the fossil hunter Dr Xu Xing of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, according to a clutch of long, ribbon-like feathers on the tail E. Today pointing to another function.
They believe the unusual plumage was "integumentary ornamentation" - a decorative attachment that helped in mating.
Something like the peacock spreads his tail fan to attract the female, the dinosaur showing his feathers in the parade to show their ability.
E. Today the name is derived from a "feather display" in Greek compound and Yaoming Hu, a Chinese expert in Mesozoic mammals who died in April this year after a long illness, aged only 42.
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Posted by Dinosaurs World at 9:26 PM