By Jason Bittel
Picture a red-headed woodpecker crossed with a tiny velociraptor, and you have a good mental image of Anchiornis, a foot-high dinosaur that hails from the Late Jurassic.
That’s the conclusion of scientists who examined nine specimens of this ancient animal, lighting up its previously invisible soft tissues with high-powered lasers so they could get an even better idea of the dinosaur’s true dimensions.
The study shows that Anchiornis was remarkably bird-like, with drumstick-shaped legs and long forearms connected by a layer of skin called the patagium. It also had a slender tail and scaly footpads reminiscent of those on a chicken.
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