A new study was published about a feathered dinosaur fossil discovered in Brazil, making it the first of its kind to be found in the Southern Hemisphere. The species is called Ubirajara Jubatus and scientists predict it lived almost 110 million years ago. The name Ubirajara means “lord of the spear” which comes from the local Tupi indigenous language, while Jubatus comes from Latin.
This creature was likely about the size of a chicken, and paleontologists believe Ubirajara Jubatus was fluffy and had 2 colored streamers coming out from each shoulder. Study co-authors Eberhard Frey and David Martill believe that the creature used its fluffy mane and streamers on its shoulders as a way to appear flashy when dancing to attract companions or to warn off predators. Additionally, this type of species is a member of the compsognathidae group, which is a branch of the family tree of the carnivorous dinosaurs.
Martill, a paleontologist at the University of Portsmouth in England, explains how the discovery of Ubirajara Jubatus shows proof of what many scientists believed, “Many dinosaurs from the supercontinent of Gondwana, which covered much of the southern half of the planet during the Cretaceous Period, were assumed to have had feathers…”
Initially, this fossil was exported from Brazil to Germany in 1995 with all the necessary permits, according to Martill. Although, Taissa Rodrigues Marques da Silva, a paleontologist at the Federal University of Espírito Santo, expresses that this export may have violated Brazilian law. She wants data from the German paleontologists about the export permits. Frey says that the permits were for unspecified samples, so he doesn’t have any solid proof that these fossils were exported to Germany legally. Frey and Martill say it took them so long to publish their findings because they didn’t see the fossil as something special, and it took years of research to recognize how important the species is.