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Species

 Compsognathidae

MYA
   Compsognathus

150

   Sinosauropteryx

130

 Therizinosauroidea
   Beipiaosaurus

130

   Falcarius

125

   Alxasaurus

112

   Erlikosaurus

95

   Therizinosaurus

75

 Oviraptoridae
   Caudipteryx

140

   Insicivosaurus

120

   Avimimus

95

   Chirostenotes

70

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70

   Nomingia

68

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67

 Dromaeosauridae
   Microraptor

126

   Deinonychus

120

   Buitreraptor

90

   Unenlagia

90

   Bambiraptor

80

   Atrociraptor

70

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70

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67

 Tyrannosauridae
   Dilong

130

 Troodontidae
   Mei long

130

   Sinornithoides

105

   Troodon

 67

 Alvarezsauridae
  Patagonykus 95
  Shuvuuia 80
  Alvarezsaurus 80
  Parvicursor 80
  Mononykus 70
 Aves (birds)
   Protarchaeopteryx

135

   Archaeopteryx

147

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  Juraventor Starki

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Protarchaeopteryx robusta (Qiang Ji & Shu-An Ji. 1997).
This species does not appear on the present Feathered Dinosaurs poster.  It will go on the 2nd Edition.

Name Means: "First Ancient Wing" Length: 3 feet (1 m)
Pronounced: Pro -tar-key-Op-ter-ix Weight: 10 pounds (4 kilos)
When it lived: Early Cretaceous - 135 MYA    
Where found: Liaoning Province, China.    

    Protarchaeopteryx was a small, feathered, bird-like dinosaur that lived in China. This animal is considered to be more primitive than Archaeopteryx  as it was a little more like the non-avian theropods.  The resulted in its name "first ancient-wing" or before Archaeopteryx, Like its namesake, the Protarchaeopteryx specimens were found with feather impressions. The best preserved of the newest specimens definitively shows feathers attached to the front leg and tail. Unlike Archaeopteryx, however, Protarchaeopteryx's feathers are symmetrical, indicating that Protarchaeopteryx may not have been able to fly.
   Discovered in 1996, Protarchaeopteryx is based on a remarkable fossil preserved in the fine-grained stone from Liaoning, China. It laid to rest the argument about dinosaurs being feathered. Now discussion has shifted to the type of feathers that were on the dinosaurs and when flight feathers evolved.  Although the new fossils closely resemble Archaeopteryx in some ways, they lack the precise form of true birds -- in particular the length of wing and design of individual feathers. For this reason, the researchers believe the fossils were true dinosaurs that are the immediate ancestors of the first birds.  "They represent a missing link between dinosaurs and birds which we had expected to find," said Ji Quiang, director of the National Geological Museum in Beijing, who worked on the fossils.
   It is one of two feathered dinosaurs found in China.  The other is Caudipteryx zoui, or "tail feather." Both were fast runners and were probably unable to fly, judging from the short arms and long legs. Their feathers may have been for insulation or display. Protoarchaeopteryx was about the size of a modern-day turkey, is the more primitive and earlier of the two fossils, said Mark Norell, who also worked on the fossils. Norell is chairman and associate curator in the department of vertebrate paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
    Philip Currie of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, said, "For the first time we have something that is unquestionably a dinosaur with unquestionable feathers. So what we have is a missing link between meat-eating dinosaurs and the earliest bird.''  He added, "This shows that dinosaurs are not extinct, but are well-represented by 10,000 species of birds." The existence of Sinosauropteryx and the dinosaur with even more feathers, Caudipteryx, lends credence to the theory the birds are descended from theropod dinosaurs and not from 4-legged arboreal (tree living) reptiles. There are, however, dissenting voices who point out that the new feathered fossils are from a time after that of Archaeopteryx, the first bird (which lived about 147 million years ago, before Caudipteryx and Protarchaeopteryx). This suggests that perhaps the fossils' resemblance to birds could be a case of convergent evolution and that their feathers evolved for insulation, not flight, indicating a warm-blooded physiology.
    Protarchaeopteryx presents an interesting contradiction.  It is more primitive than Archaeopteryx, so it should have occurred in the fossil record before Archaeopteryx.   But that was not the case.  It appeared ten million years later. One explanation is that both species evolved from a common ancestor, but one evolved faster than the other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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