Sinornithosaurus (Chinese bird lizard)
Xu, Wang & Wu - 1999
Estimated 1 metres long
S.millenii (type), S. haoiana
China, Liaoning Province - Yixian Formation
Early Cretaceous, 120 million years ago
Sinornithosaurus is a genus of small theropod dinosaur that lived in what is now China during the Early Cretaceous period, about 120 million years ago. It was a member of the dromaeosaurid family, which includes some of the most famous carnivorous dinosaurs such as Velociraptor and Deinonychus.
Sinornithosaurus was a relatively small dinosaur, measuring about 1 meter (3 feet) in length and weighing around 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds). It had sharp teeth, long arms with three-fingered hands, and long, curved claws on its feet. Its most distinctive feature, however, was its feathers. Sinornithosaurus had long feathers on its arms and tail, as well as shorter feathers covering its body. It is believed that these feathers were used for insulation, display, and possibly even gliding.
Sinornithosaurus is particularly notable for being one of the first dinosaurs discovered with preserved evidence of feathers. In fact, the discovery of Sinornithosaurus helped to change our understanding of dinosaur evolution and the origin of birds. It is now widely accepted that birds evolved from small, feathered theropod dinosaurs like Sinornithosaurus.
In addition to its feathers, Sinornithosaurus is also known for its sharp teeth and sickle-shaped claws. These features suggest that it was a fast and agile predator, capable of taking down prey much larger than itself. It may have hunted in packs, much like its larger dromaeosaurid relatives.
Overall, Sinornithosaurus is an important dinosaur for our understanding of the evolution of feathers, flight, and bird origins. Its small size, feathered body, and sharp claws make it a fascinating and important part of the diversity of life during the Early Cretaceous period in China.