Gallery: Finding feathered fossils
Xu Xing's dinosaur finds range from a pint-sized creature with four wings to the feathered ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex. Between them, they have cemented the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds. He talks to Phil McKenna about his work
How did you become interested in dinosaurs?
I grew up in a remote region in Xinjiang province. I didn't even know what a dinosaur was when I was young, not even when I was in high school. I was interested in physics, but when I got into Beijing University I was assigned to study palaeontology. I was later admitted as a graduate student to the Chinese Academy of Sciences to continue studying palaeontology. I was only interested because it meant I could stay in Beijing and didn't have to go back to Xinjiang, but early in my career I got to study some very interesting fossils. Now it's hard to imagine how I could live without dinosaurs.