"Beautiful" Squirrel-Tail Dinosaur Fossil Upends Feather Theory

A newfound squirrel-tailed specimen is the oldest known meat-eating dinosaur with feathers, according to a new study. The late-Jurassic discovery, study authors say, strikes down the image of dinosaurs as “overgrown lizards.”

Unearthed recently from a Bavarian limestone quarry, the “exquisitely preserved” 150-million-year-old fossil has been dubbed Sciurumimus albersdoerferi—"Scirius" being the scientific name for tree squirrels.

Sciurumimus was likely a young megalosaur, a group of large, two-legged meat-eating dinosaurs. The hatchling had a large skull, short hind limbs, and long, hairlike plumage on its midsection, back, and tail.

“I was overwhelmed when I first saw it. Even apart from the preservation of feathers, this is certainly one of the most beautiful dinosaur fossils ever found,” Read more.

“Savage lizard”
Late Jurassic, 153-148 million years ago

This “savage lizard” could grow up to 33 feet in length, making it one of the largest predators of the Jurassic! Two separate species have been found, one in Colorado and one in Portugal. If that seems unnecessarily specific, it’s important to remember that 150 million years ago, Colorado and Portugal were ever so slightly less nowhere-near-each-other. Yeah, still weird.

The Piatnitzky’s lizard, Piatnitzkysaurus (1979)

Phylum : Chorata
Class : Reptilia
Order : Saurischia
Suborder : Theropoda
Superfamily : Megalosauroidea
Family : Piatnitzkysauridae
Genus : Piatnitzkysaurus
Specie : P. floresi

  • Middle Jurassic (164 - 161 Ma)
  • 4,3 m long and 450 kg (size)
  • Cañadon Asfalto formation, Argentina (map)

The holotype specimen of Piatnitzkysaurus, PVL 4073, was collected during expeditions in 1977, 1982, 1983 at the Canadon Asfalto Formation in sediments that were deposited during the Callovian stages of the Jurassic period, approximately 164 to 161 million years ago. Once thought to be a basal carnosaur, it may instead be a megalosauroid. In total two partial skeletons are known and show that Piatnitzkysaurus was a relatively lightly built medium-sized bipedal carnivore that was around 4.3 metres long and around 450 kilograms in mass, though such estimates apply to the holotype, which is a subadult. It had robust arms and powerful hind legs with four toes on each foot. Its ischium is 423 millimetres long. Its braincase resembles that of another megalosauroid, the megalosaurid Piveteausaurus from France. A general resemblance to the theropod Allosaurus was also noted by Benton (1992).


Quite Possibly the Cutest (Accurate) Dinosaur Illustration Ever
Annalee Newitz

Science artist Emily Willoughby specializes in birds and their feathery ancestors among dinosaurs. And in this illustration, “The Rains of Rogling,” is possibly the cutest scientifically accurate rendition of a dinosaur I’ve ever seen. It probably helps that this is a picture of a baby, and (yes) it’s covered in down. It’s like the Cretaceous version of a kitten. Writes Willoughby:

Here is my rendition of the purported baby megalosauroid, Sciurumimus, perched on a rock by the Bavarian sea as it waits patiently for its mother to return to it. Two pterodactylid pterosaurs comb the beach in the background. From the late Jurassic Rögling Formation of Germany, ~150 mya.

You can see more of Willoughby’s incredible work on her site.

Here we go with a personal take of the Brazilian spinosaurid Irritator. And yes, it is feathered. Please, leave me alone.

Irritator is a genus of spinosaurid dinosaur that lived in the early Cretaceous Period (Albian stage), around 110 million years ago. Current estimations indicate a length of 8 meters and a weight of 2-3 tons. It was found in Brazil. Irritator was a theropod with an unusually shaped crest at the rear of its head, and probably ate fish. So far the only fossil that has been found was an 80 centimeter long fossil skull in the Romualdo Member, a layer member of the Brazilian Santana formation. This skull strongly resembles the skulls of Suchomimus and Spinosaurus. The genus is often regarded today as identical (synonymous) with Angaturama, which lived in the same time and the same place as Irritator.

Irritable, 2012.

Coloured with Tria Markers and pencils. Based on grey headed and Campbell albatrosses

References: Felipe A. Elias



The dinosaur of the day is french Megalosaurid Dubreuillosaurus ! So I decided to leave my cave of inactivity and draw a portrait of this jurassic theropod.

Here you have the practically finished result along with the WIP version full with skull details so you can see I used references. ^^

Free to reblog. Do not steal.