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Model by Brian Cooley
Photograph by O. Louis Mazzatenta

Dinosaurs live! Or so argue some scientists. The long-lost creatures are still with us—as birds. That theory got a boost from 1996 finds in northeastern China. Sinosauropteryx prima was a 120-million year-old chicken-size dinosaur with sharp teeth, stout legs, a bony tail, and more: Filaments edging the creature’s back may be what remain of protofeathers. And Caudipteryx zoui (left) had actual plumage, complete with a spray of tail feathers.

LEARN MORE:
Read paleontologist Ji Qiang’s interview in our press event coverage.

 

   


In an interview with nationalgeographic.com, paleontologist Ji Qiang, director of the National Geological Museum in Beijing, said he was “very excited” when a fossil dealer brought him the first of the finds. “I had never seen a creature like this.” The discoveries, he argued, provide “the first real evidence that dinosaurs gave rise to birds.”

Did you know...
. . . the first known skilled flier was Eoalulavis?
Its 115-million-year-old remains were found in Spain.