Ubirajara jubatus lived 110 million years ago in what is now Brazil And she probably used her unusual shoulder feathers and lush mane to attract potential mates – and ward off rivals – by displaying her flamboyant looks, the authors explain in the magazine. Cretaceous Research that collects the study.
Experts believe that the dinosaur could bristle its mane at will when feeling threatened and leave it flat, attached to the body, in moments of rest, to move with agility around the undergrowth of the forest, which would have allowed him to optimize his body to increase speed and to release or capture heat. The mane was medium 11 centimeters; definitely, the longest mane ever recorded on any dinosaur.
Regarding the spikes, rods or ‘spears’ they were of keratin, the same protein that our nails and hair and the feathers and beaks of birds contain. Their position on the shoulders means that they could probably also be raised and lowered at will.
“These structures in the shoulders are really elaborate; made this animal look quite spectacular, just like a bird of paradise looks fabulous today, “says David Martill, a paleontologist at the University of Portsmouth in England and a co-author of the study. “When birds have these kinds of feathers, they do all kinds of dances and fancy displays, so this dinosaur looks like a little boast of the same thing too.”
Until now, researchers believed that many dinosaurs on the supercontinent of Gondwana, which covered much of the southern half of the planet during the Cretaceous Period, had feathers, but until now we had not had direct evidence, according to Martill after discovering the torso of an unknown species of dinosaur while taking high-resolution X-ray images of limestone slabs from northeast Brazil.
Paleontologists suspect that the specimen is a young male, given the size of the dinosaur’s backbone, but they can’t confirm it because the fossil is partial.