Scientists have made a bright discovery – a rainbow-coloured dinosaur!

The fossilised remains, unearthed in north-east China, show a bird-like dinosaur that roamed the Earth in the Jurassic Period, 161 million years ago – woah!

Scientists have named the duck-sized dinosaur Caihong juji, which means ‘rainbow with the big crest’ in Mandarin.

Rainbow dinosaur fossil discovered in China

What Caihong juji may have looked like!

Credit: Velizar Simeonovski, the Field Museum, for UT Austin Jackson School of Geosciences

The dinosaur had a bony crest on its head and long, ribbon-like feathers in a rainbow of colours, which scientists believe would have shimmered in the light.

After studying the feathers under powerful microscopes, they found that the dinosaur’s melanosomes (microscopic granules that give cells their colour) were similar to those in modern-day hummingbirds!

Velizar Simeonovski, the Field Museum, for UT Austin Jackson School of Geosciences

These images show how the pre-historic animal was preserved.

Credit: Nature Communications, ISSN 2041-1723

Despite its feathers, it’s thought that Caihong juji wasn’t built for flight. Instead, the bright plumage may have been a way of attracting a mate, like the tail-feathers of the modern-day peacock.

It certainly would have been an eye-catching display!

What’s your favourite dinosaur? Let us know by leaving a comment, below!




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