Researchers have discovered a new dinosaur species with iridescent and asymmetrical feathers in China, according to a study published in Nature Communications on Monday.
Jointly published by scientists from China, the United States and Belgium, the findings were based on a fossil unearthed in the Manchu autonomous county of Qinglong, Hebei Province.
The new dinosaur species was named Caihong juji, which means "rainbow with a big crest" in Mandarin, because the well-preserved fossil indicated that the dinosaur had iridescent feathers on its head, neck, chest and around the base of its tail.
According to Hu Dongyu, one of the researchers in the study, the dinosaur was the earliest-known creature to have asymmetrical feathers, a typical trait modern birds use to steer in flight.
"Its forelegs had symmetrical feathers. It suggested that the asymmetrical feathers might first have developed from the tail, and the tail may be key to flying," said Hu.
The dinosaur lived 160 million years ago during the Jurassic Period. The new discovery may provide important information for the study of bird evolution.