Protarchaeopteryx ‭(‬Before Archaeopteryx‭)

Short Info

Protarchaeopteryx ‭(‬Before Archaeopteryx‭)

Phonetic : Prot-ar-ke-op-teh-riks.

Named By : Q.‭ ‬Ji‭ & ‬S.-A.‭ ‬Ji‭ ‬-‭ ‬1997

Diet : Carnivore

Size : Estimated up to 2 meters long

Type of Dinosaur : Small Theropod

Type Species : P.‭ ‬robusta‭ (‬type‭)‬

Found in : China,‭ ‬Liaoning Province‭ ‬-‭ ‬Yixian Formation

When it Lived : Early Cretaceous, 122-120 million years ago

Protarchaeopteryx, which means “before Archaeopteryx”, is a genus consisting of turkey-sized, feathered theropod dinosaurs from China. It is found in the Yixian Formation’s Jianshangou Bed. It lived around 124.6 million years ago during the Early Aptian Age of the Early Cretaceous. Although it was likely a herbivore/omnivore, its hands were similar to small carnivorous dinosaurs. It is likely to have been one of the Oviraptorosauria’s most basal members, closely related with Incisivosaurus or a taxon that was slightly less related to birds than oviraptorosaurs.


Protarchaeopteryx-Geological Museum of ChinaJonathan Chen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The holotype is NGMC 225, a partial skeleton. It is the only known Protarchaeopteryx specimen.

Protarchaeopteryx was a long-legged predator that could have run fast. The well-developed, vaned feathers were arranged from a short tail. Its hands were long and thin, with three fingers and sharp claws. It had hollow bones that looked bird-like and a wishbone. It would have been approximately 1 metre (3.3 ft) longer than Archaeopteryx. Protarchaeopteryx also had tail feathers with symmetrical feathers. Modern birds with symmetrical feathers cannot fly, and Protarchaeopteryx’s skeletal structure would not allow for flapping flight, so it is presumed that it was also flightless. According to some, it may have lived in an arboreal environment, jumping from tree limbs or using its forelimbs as parachuting.

Source: Wikipedia