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New ‘Rainbow’ Dinosaur May Have Sparkled Like a Hummingbird

Caihong juji is a newly described, bird-like dinosaur with an iridescent, rainbow crest. It lived in China about 161 million years ago, and may have used its impressive feathers to attract mates. Illustration by Velizar Simeonovski for UT Austin Jackson School of Geosciences

A new dinosaur discovered in China had feathers that may have glittered with the colors of the rainbow. Based on its stunningly preserved remains, scientists say the dinosaur’s head and chest seem to have been covered with iridescent feathers akin to those on modern hummingbirds.

The flashy display may have provided a social or sexual cue, like modern peacock tails. The dinosaur also has a bird-like body, including the sorts of feathers required for flight, but it has a crested head that more closely resembles that of a Velociraptor.

National Geographic, Jan. 15, 2018

Earthsky, Jan.26, 2018

Newsweek, Jan. 15, 2018

Syfy, Jan.18, Jan.18, 2018

The Hindu, Jan.18, 2018

China.org.cn, Jan.18. 2018

 

Featuring: Julia Clarke, Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences