New velociraptor relative discovered -- and it has wings, feathers

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New Velociraptor Relative Found To Be Covered In Feathers

Velociraptors were one of the starring attractions in the movie Jurassic World, and now, one of its relatives is taking the spotlight.

According to a recently published study, scientists have discovered a new species of bird-like dinosaur, which is estimated to be around 125 million years old.

Referred to as Zhenyuanlong, or Zhenyuan's dragon after the man who delivered the fossil, the specimen has been described as having wings covered in multiple layers of quill-pen feathers.

One of the researchers elaborates, "So even though this is a dinosaur, even though it is a close relative of velociraptor, it looks exactly like a turkey or a vulture."

Despite the comparisons, the approximately five foot-long creature was likely unable to fly due to its short arms, and the extensive feathers around tail and wing area are thought to be related to nest protection. They could also have provided a stronger grip on inclining surfaces or be used to hold down prey.

The fossil, which was found in northeastern China, remained in exceptional condition as it had been buried in limestone after a volcanic eruption.

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New velociraptor relative discovered -- and it has wings, feathers

An Archaeopteryx on a log above a stream.

(Daniel Eskridge/Stocktrek via Getty)

An Archaeopteryx stalks a dragonfly on a rock.

(Stocktrek/Getty Images)

Undated National Academy of Sciences handout of a Reconstruction of the flying dinosaur, Microraptor, showing its "biplane" design.

Primeval time: a Brontornis Burmeisteri (large bird) fighting with a Hadrosaur

(Getty Images)

Elephant Bird (Aepyornis) walking on beach, illustration (Photo by De Agostini Picture Library/De Agostini/Getty Images)

Archaeopteryx dinosaur on white background with drop shadow.

(Leonello Calvetti/Stocktrek via Getty)

LONDON - JANUARY 22: This handout image, showing an artist's interpretation of the winged dinosaur, Microraptor Gui, was published in the Journal Nature on January 22, 2003 in London, England. Microraptor Gui was discovered by the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing. Scientist believe the four-winged dinosaur, measuring around one meter (red and black bar at bottom left represents five cm) lived approximately 130-million years ago and would have flown in the same way a flying squirrel does today. (Photo by Journal Nature/Portia Sloan/Getty Images)
circa 1890: A Pterodactyl on the hunt above a sea full of predators. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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