Nottingham

Giant 'bird-like dinosaur' remains to go on show in Nottingham

Fossilized bones of a gigantic theropod dinosaur on display in Beijing Image copyright Frederick J Brown / Getty Images
Image caption Fossil hunter Xu Xing discovered the remains of Gigantoraptor in 2007, which are on display in Beijing, China

The remains the largest feathered creature ever discovered are to go on display in Nottingham after leaving China for the first time.

Gigantoraptor, which was four metres tall and eight metres long, will be one of several dinosaur specimens to feature at Wollaton Hall next summer.

Dr George Baxter, of The University of Nottingham, said the exhibition was "an enormous coup for the city".

The remains have not left Asia since they were discovered in 2007.

Gigantoraptor

Image copyright Thinkstock
  • The creature may have been more than two tons in weight, yet was only a young adult when it died
  • The toothless skull was more than half a metre long with a horny beak
  • It had long hind legs and large claws and would have been fast enough to outrun most predators around 70 million years ago
  • It seems certain that Gigantoraptor's feathers were for display rather than for flight or insulation
  • It laid the largest dinosaur eggs ever found

The exhibition, which is on loan from museums in China, also includes the best preserved dinosaur fossils from around the world - including skin and feathers.

The flying Microraptor and specimens of some the largest prehistoric creatures ever found in China, will also be part of the collection.

Image copyright Frederick J Brown / Getty Images
Image caption The University of Nottingham, Nottingham City Council and the Chinese Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, agreed to bring the exhibition to the city

Dr Adam Smith, of curator and palaeontologist at Wollaton Hall, said: "This is the first time some of these incredibly important and rare fossils have ever been displayed outside of China.

"Some of the most important fossils in the world... have revolutionised our understanding of dinosaurs and the origin of birds and feathers - birds are literally dinosaurs. Dinosaurs that learned how to fly."

Image copyright Frederick J Brown / Getty Images
Image caption Palaeontologist Dr Adam Smith said "important fossils... have revolutionised our understanding of dinosaurs"

Many of the species are relatively new to science, having only been discovered and named in the last 20 years - some as recently as 2015.

Image copyright Frederick J Brown / Getty Images
Image caption The University of Nottingham, Nottingham City Council and the Chinese Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, agreed to bring the exhibition to the city

Councillor Dave Trimble, of Nottingham City Council, said he believes the "prestigious Chinese exhibition" will attract people from across the world.

Image copyright Zhao Chuang
Image caption The specimens in the exhibition were discovered and studied by the Chinese institute, in Beijing, which has close links with the University of Nottingham

The exhibition aims to bring to life the story of how dinosaurs evolved into the birds that live alongside us today.

Image copyright Frederick J Brown / Getty Images
Image caption It is believed the Gigantoraptor was about 35 times heavier than other known feathered dinosaurs

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