stood as tall as a giraffe, measuring more than 16 feet (5 meters) high, say Chinese researchers who recently discovered the birdlike dinosaur. The giant creature reached lengths up to 26 feet (8 meters) and weighed as much as a rhinoceros.
The newfound species belonged to a group of two-legged dinosaurs called oviraptorosaurs, previously known only as small-bodied dinosaurs. Gigantoraptor'
s feathered ancestors normally weighed no more than 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms).
may have grown to be even bigger than the specimen illustrated here. Scientists noticed lines of arrested growth on the fossil, suggesting it was still a young adult when it died.
"The size is amazing," said lead researcher Xing Xu of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing. "The fully grown dinosaur would have been even larger."
The team believes an unusually fast rate of growth enabled the dinosaur to reach such massive proportions.
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Image courtesy Li Rongshan/IVPP/Nature