Hump-Backed Feathered Dino Discovered
Mystery dinosaur offers link to first birds
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2010 8:42 AM CDT
This undated handout image provided by the journal Nature shows a hypothetical reconstruction of a nearly complete fossil of a new dinosaur that sports a noticeable hump.   (AP Photo/Nature)

(Newser) – It had a mysterious hump over its pelvis and feather-attachment bumps on its forearms: Meet the newly discovered Concavenator corcovatus, a dinosaur scientists hope will offer clues about the emergence of the first birds. Paleontologists unearthed the dino, a member of the theropod family, in central Spain. And while its feather-attachment bumps closely resemble those found in modern birds, it is not closely related to any previously known birds or feathered dinosaurs.

Feathered dinosaurs were known to exist in the era the fossil dates from, but not in Concavenator corcovatus's relatively primitive branch of evolution. Paleontologists are also scratching their heads about the hump on the fossil's spine, BBC reports. Many dinosaurs had humps, but this one is unusually far back toward the tail and doesn't appear to have served any of the known functions of dinosaur humps: heat regulation, display, or food storage.