Paleontologists have described a new genus and species of birdlike carnivorous dinosaurs Caihong juji.
As reported in Nature Communications, the lizard on the head was the ridge, and probably bright, iridescent plumage on the head and neck. Perhaps it served to attract mates.
Fossils of an unknown species was found by a farmer from the province Hebei in the North-East of China in 2014. Along with the other dinosaurs, early mammals and lizards, Caihong juji belonged to the so-called Biot, Anilao and lived about 160 million years ago.
A new species belonged to the suborder theropod carnivorous dinosaurs. Preserved almost complete fossilized skeleton, and in many places the prints of feathers. The lizard was small, about 40 centimeters in length and apparently weighed about a pound. It had a long narrow skull, a crest on the snout, relatively short legs and a long tail with asymmetric feathers.
The authors work under the guidance of zing Memory (Xing Xu) from the Institute of paleontology and vertebrate paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and donghee Hu (Hu Dongyu) from Shenyang normal University, investigated the fossil feathers using a scanning electron microscopy. They found the nanostructures, size and shape similar to melanomamelanoma birds that contain the pigment melanin that give color to feathers.
The researchers compared the structures found in dinosaur avian melanosomes, and came to the conclusion that the morphology of some of them (those on the head, neck and base of tail of lizard) is similar to the morphology of melanosome Hummingbird that give the feathers are bright, iridescent colors. But most of the body of the reptile was covered in a gray or black feathers resembling in color the plumage of penguins. In honor of the brightly colored new species got its name. Caihong juji can be translated with Chinese as “a rainbow with a big crest.”