A “SHAGGY” close cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex discovered in China is the biggest feathered dinosaur known, scientists have revealed.
Yutyrannus huali measured almost 30ft long and weighed more than a tonne. Like T rex it was a formidable predator, but was covered in downy feathers.
Scientists believe the feathers were not for flight and would have kept the animal warm.
Despite being dwarfed by T rex, Yutyrannus was 40 times heavier than the largest feathered dinosaur known to date, Beipiaosaurus.
Three fossil skeletons of Yutyrannus, one adult and two juveniles, were found in Liaoning province, north east China.
Its name is a combination of Latin and Mandarin meaning “beautiful feathered tyrant”.
Isolated patches of preserved T rex skin suggest it was covered in scales rather than feathers.
But Yutyrannus, which like T rex walked on two legs, showed clear evidence of primitive plumage.
“The feathers of Yutyrannus were simple filaments,” said Professor Xu Xing, from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, whose team described the find in the journal Nature. “They were more like the fuzzy down of a modern baby chick.”