Scientists have recently discovered a chicken-sized dinosaur fossil with unprecedented features. About 110 million years ago, a two-legged chicken-sized dinosaur hunted small insects and amphibians in an ancient lake in northeastern Brazil.
This species had long needle-like spines. They are reminiscent of a bird in sight. This helps to understand the relationship between dinosaurs and birds.
Fossils of this dinosaur species were first discovered in 1995. Eberhard Frey, a paleontologist at the State Museum of National History in Germany, discovered the fossil from Chapada do Araripe in northeastern Brazil. “There are a lot of weird dinosaurs, but this species is very different from all of them,” said David Martill, a paleontologist at the University of Portsmouth who led the research.
This dinosaur species is called Ubirajara jubatus. The thorns on their necks have been found to be made of keratin. Human nails, hair and skin are made up of the same protein. It is believed that these thorns were used to attract mates and to protect themselves from large animals.
Body hair is another factor. It’s not hair, it’s feathers like many dinosaurs. The anatomy of this dinosaur is reminiscent of modern day peacocks. David Martill suggests that although the color of the fossils is not known, the bodies of the Ubirajaras may have been colorful. The study was published in the journal Cretaceous.