Back before I got my first corgi, my inner life was full of imaginary pets. Not just dogs, but tame foxes, wolves, crows, hedgehogs, armadillos and giant fruit bats. And of course, since imagination is cheap, I also kept dragons, mammoths, thylacines and of course dinosaurs of all kinds. With all due respect to my beloved dogs, there are still a few of the imaginary beasties hanging around. And modern reconstructed dinosaurs, so much fuzzier and feathery-er , make even better imaginary pets than the giant lizards of my youth.
Add to the list, if you will, Sinosauropteryx, a small feathered bipedal dinosaur from China, who scientists revealed today almost certainly had a cute raccoon-style bandit mask and a long ring tail, and even a white belly like all the best pets. Imagine this little guy curled up at the foot of your bed, trotting along beside you carrying your phone and sketchbook (and his own treats) in his saddlebags, or watching TV next to you on the couch. He will catch lots of mice and the adorable videos you make with him will go viral on a regular basis.
Read more about the real Sinosauropteryx, and the interesting scientific background behind bandit mask markings (along with ringed tails and countershading, which means having a dark back and a light belly) in this article on Gizmodo.