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Palaeontologists discover new species of human-sized dinosaur with feathers

Both dinosaurs walked on two legs, were covered in feathers, and were about the size of a human being.

science Updated: Jul 18, 2017 17:57 IST
Scientists named the dinosaur Albertavenator Curriei after Canadian palaeontologist Philip J Currie.
Scientists named the dinosaur Albertavenator Curriei after Canadian palaeontologist Philip J Currie.(Representative image)

Scientists have discovered a new species of 71 million-year-old bird-like dinosaur in Canada that is roughly the size of a human.

Palaeontologists initially thought that the bones of the dinosaur -- Albertavenator -- belonged to its close relative Troodon, which lived around 76 million years ago, five million years before Albertavenator.

Both dinosaurs walked on two legs, were covered in feathers, and were about the size of a human being.

New comparisons of bones forming the top of the head reveal that Albertavenator had a distinctively shorter and more robust skull than Troodon, its famously brainy relative, researchers said.

“The delicate bones of these small feathered dinosaurs are very rare. We were lucky to have a critical piece of the skull that allowed us to distinguish Albertaventaor as a new species,” said David Evans, senior curator of vertebrate palaeontology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada.

The bones of Albertavenator were found in the badlands surrounding the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Canada, in the early 1980s.

The new species has been named in honour of renowned Canadian palaeontologist Philip J Currie.

The research was published in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences.