Imagine a chicken of 1, 400 kilograms, twice as tall as a man and equipped with terrible nails and an elongated tail. It is not a nightmare, but the photograph of the Gigantoraptor Erlianensis, a dinosaur that lived not less than 70 million years ago and, technically, belonging to the oviraptorosaur family, small feathered dinosaurs similar to birds that were thought to not exceed 35-40 kilos of weight.
The discovery of this species so far unknown dates back to 2005, but the scientific announcement was given only now, after careful analysis. The discovery of the fossil remains of this new species of dinosaur is in fact quite important because it contradicts the current theories of the evolution of birds.
So far scholars have believed that the evolution of dinosaurs first in oviraptosauri and then in birds had been accompanied by a necessary and progressive decrease in size. The Gigantoraptor instead opens new questions: it has no teeth and its jaw is shaped very much like a beak, it has very thin legs, perhaps a thick plumage (and, perhaps, it is incapable of flying), but certainly its evolutionary line, no matter how oversize, it descends from the dinosaurs and goes towards the birds.
The fossil remains found in the Gobi desert, in Mongolia, identify a specimen about eight meters long, over 5 meters high and with a body mass of no less than 1, 400 kilograms. Not a little, considering that the tests confirmed that he had not yet reached maturity. A puppy, in short, as nobody expected.
(Photo: © hedgehoghead - Beijing, 13 June 2007: the discovery dates back to 2005, the announcement to 13 June 2007. On this occasion the size of the Gigantoraptor is underlined).