According to AFP with a headline that reads "Weird Dino Rewrites The Book On Birds"...as if the AOU isn't doing that on a regular basis already.
PARIS (AFP) — A tiny, egg-robbing dinosaur that lived more than 150 million years ago could help explain a key phase in the evolution of birds, scientists reported on Wednesday.
In unusual language for a high-brow journal, Chinese palaeontologists admit the wee dino was, frankly, "bizarre".
The beast was a distant relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex but was no bigger than a kitten. And it was covered in feathers but couldn't fly.
The creature lived between 152 and 168 million years ago, according to analysis of its fossil, found in Daohugou in Inner Mongolia, northern China.
Dubbed Epidexipteryx hui, the mini-dino was a two-footed predator, known as a therapod, that lived in the Middle to Late Jurassic era between 152 and 168 million years ago.
It probably weighed no more than 164 grammes, or just over five ounces, and fed opportunistically on eggs it found or stole, according to the paper, which appears in the British weekly journal Nature.
E. hui lived shortly before the famous Archaeopteryx, which arrived on the scene around 150 million years ago and is generally considered to be the first bird. Despite its many dinosaur features, Archaeopteryx is believed to have been capable of powered flight.
Yet one of the many questions about the "early bird" scenario is exactly why dinosaurs evolved feathers. Did feathers provide warmth, for instance, or a means of flight, enabling a tree-living dino to jump or glide to safety from a perch or to find food?
They believe the unusual plumage was "integumentary ornamentation" -- a decorative attachment that helped in mating. Rather like the peacock spreads out his tail fan to lure a female, this dinosaur would show his feathers in courtship to demonstrate his fitness.
Read the whole story here.