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Sci-Tech

Velociraptor's cousins, ancestors may have been even more terrifying

A newly discovered relative of the famed hunters from the "Jurassic Park" movies hints at an extra ability the feared family of dinosaurs may have once possessed.

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An artist's impression of how the fierce, feathered velociraptor cousin may have looked.Chuang Zhao

Those tricky, terrifying velociraptors from "Jurassic Park" and " Jurassic World" have a cousin that was recently discovered, one that had the potential to add a whole dimension of terror courtesy of its bird-like wings.

Paleontologists have excavated fossil remains in China of a large, feathered dinosaur dubbedZhenyuanlong suni, a new example of a family of feathered meat-eating species that were widespread 125 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period, better known as the absolute worst time in Earth's history to re-create in theme park form (besides, "Cretaceous Park" just doesn't have the same ring, you know?)

The species grew to more than 5 feet in length and had very short wings with multiple layers of large, complex feathers like those used to make quill pens. Many other species of feathered dinosaurs have very simple and more hair-like coverage.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh and the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences unearthed a practically complete skeleton that they say was remarkably well preserved and revealed dense feathers on its wings and tail.

"This new dinosaur is one of the closest cousins of Velociraptor, but it looks just like a bird," Steve Brusatte from the University of Edinburgh, who co-authored a paper on the findings, said in a release. "It's a dinosaur with huge wings made up of quill pen feathers, just like an eagle or a vulture."

Despite its avian-esque wings, researchers say the species probably couldn't fly, at least not in the way that modern birds do it today.

Even if these cratures were unable to take the velociraptor campaign of terror made popular from the "Jurassic Park" movies to the skies, it's possible their feathered cousins evolved from species that could.

I smell a "Jurassic Park" prequel cooking, Cretaceous-style.