New feathered dinosaur found

A feathered but flightless dinosaur is a bizarre new addition to the fossil record showing the early history of the evolution of birds.

Paleontologists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced the discovery of Epidexipteryx hui in today’s edition of the journal Nature.

The pigeon-sized fossil predates Archeopteryx, and lacks any form of flight feathers.  However, it is most remarkable for its four extremely long, ribbon-like tail feathers.

This find supports the theory that dinosaurs first evolved feathers for ornamentation and courtship display, only later adapting them for flight.

The new dinosaur’s name is drawn from the Greek words epidexi: display; and pteryx: wing, feather.  An artist’s reconstruction is shown here.