Microraptor Dinosaur Facts

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Names   >   Microraptor
Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Types   >   Microraptor



dinosaur picture microraptor

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Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Phylum Chordata
  Class Sauropsida
  Superorder Dinosauria
  Order Saurischia
  Suborder Theropoda
  (unranked) Coelurosauria
  Infraorder Deinonychosauria
  Family Dromaeosauridae
  Subfamily Microraptorinae
  Genus Microraptor
Microraptor was a very small dinosaur that lived in Northeast China during the Cretaceous period, about 120 million years ago.

The initial discovery and naming of Microraptor was somewhat controversial. It was initially described based on a patchwork of unrelated dinosaur fossils that had been attached to each other (a "chimeric" specimen) to produce a forgery, and this forgery had been smuggled from China to the United States. It turned out however that within the forgery were the first fossils of Microraptor (other fossils have subsequently been found).

Microraptor has feathers, and is unusual as it has flight feathers on both its arms/hands and on its legs/feet (it also had feathers on its body, and a diamond-shaped group of feathers on its tail). It is not entirely clear how it used these feathers, and scientists have debated whether the animal parachuted from trees or was able to take off from groudn. What is certain, is that in flight it would have used all four wings. We do not currently know whether this is a side branch in the evolution of birds, or whether bird ancestors developed flight through an early four-winged stage (as early as 1915 some paleontologists suggested that birds may have had yet-to-be-discovered four-winged ancestor, which they named "Tetrapteryx").


Microraptor Timeline:

Microraptor was a carnivore (meat-eater) that lived about 120 million years ago

Microraptor was a carnivore (meat-eater) that lived about 120 million years ago

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Microraptor Facts

Here is a summary of some of the key facts about Microraptor:
  1. Microraptor was a genus of dinosaur.

  2. "Microraptor" means "small thief".

  3. Microraptor was a member of the Saurischia ("lizard-hipped") order of dinosaurs. What this means, is that although Microraptor was not closely related to lizards, it did have similarly shaped pelvic bones.

  4. Microraptor was a Theropod - a member of a group of related bipedal dinosaurs that included the ancestors of birds (although Microraptor was not itself an ancestor of birds).

  5. Microraptor lived about 120 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period.

  6. Microraptor lived in Northeast China.

  7. Microraptor was a carnivore (meat-eater).

  8. Microraptor was about 1½ to 2¾ feet (46 to 84 centimeters) long.

  9. Microraptor weighed up to 2¼ pounds (1 kilogram).

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