Microraptor (Small thief)
Xu Xing et al - 2000
Estimated wingspan of about 70 centimeters
M. zhaoianus (type), M. gui, M. hanqingi
China, Liaoning Province
Early Cretaceous, 125 million years ago
Microraptor is a genus of small, four-winged dinosaur that lived in the early Cretaceous period, about 125 million years ago. It was first discovered in China in 2000 and was named Microraptor because of its small size and its presumed ability to steal food from other animals.
Microraptor was about the size of a modern-day crow, with a wingspan of about 70 centimeters (28 inches) and a weight of around 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds). It was covered in feathers and had a long, bony tail that helped it maintain balance in flight. One of the most distinctive features of Microraptor was the presence of feathers on all four of its limbs, including its hind legs.
Scientists believe that Microraptor was a glider and could not fly in the same way that modern birds do. Instead, it may have used its wings to glide from tree to tree, or to catch insects and other small prey. Microraptor was also an agile climber and may have spent much of its time in trees, where it could find food and avoid predators.
Microraptor is an important dinosaur because it provides evidence that feathers were not only present on birds, but also on some non-avian dinosaurs. This discovery has helped scientists to better understand the evolution of feathers and flight in birds and other dinosaurs.