Posts Tagged ‘omnivore’
Name: »intermediate bird«
Time: Cretaceous (122 MYA)
Location: Asia (China)
Zhongornis (meaning “intermediate bird”) is a genus of primitive birds that lived during the Early Cretaceous. It was found in rocks of the Yixian Formation in Lingyuan City (China), and described by Gao et al. in 2008.
Zhongornis has only one described species, Zhongornis haoae. The only specimen is a fossil slab and counterslab numbered D2455/6. It is in the collection of the Dalian Natural History Museum. It is a fairly complete skeleton about eight centimeters in length. Pores in the bones and unfused sutures in the skeleton indicate that the specimen was a juvenile, but the authors believe that it was developed enough to erect a new taxon on the basis of its unique morphological characters. There are feather impressions preserved on the right hand and also probable tail feathers preserved near the left foot. Zhongornis had a beaked mouth with no teeth. The tail is proportionately short, has thirteen vertebrae, and no pygostyle. The third finger has only two phalangeal bones, unlike non – avian dinosaurs and Confuciusornis, and more like Enantiornithes and more advanced birds. These features and a cladistic analysis indicate that Zhongornis is the sister group to all pygostylia, meaning that it is intermediate between long – tailed Avialae like Archaeopteryx and more advanced taxa like Confuciusornis.
Zhongornis provides important anatomical information about the evolutionary transition from primitive basal Avialae like Archaeopteryx, which had a long bony tail and a dinosaur-like third finger, to the more advanced birds like the Enantiornithes, which had reduced third fingers and tails fused into rigid pygostyles. Zhonghornis is the only fossil ever found that seems to be intermediate in these features. It appears to have one less bone in the third finger than Archaeopteryx, and one more thanLongipteryx, suggesting that it is an intermediate between the two. Zhongornis also seems to be intermediate in its tail anatomy. It has only thirteen caudal vertebrae, far less than the 22 in Archaeopteryx. None of the vertebral centra are fused, but the last four do form a continuous lateral flange, implying that this specimen had an incipient pygostyle. Previous to this fossil Sanz et al. (1992) suggested that the evolution of the pygostyle may have proceeded as the numerous vertebrae of the tail became very small and highly ankylosed. Zhongornis suggests that shortening of the tail, and a large reduction in the number of vertebrae, preceded the origin of the pygostyle in the evolution of at least one bird lineage.
Species: Z. haoae Gao et al., 2008
Name: »from Nankang city«
Time: Cretaceous (71-69 MYA)
Location: Asia (China)
Nankangia (pronounced: nan-kan-gee-uh) is an extinct genus of caenagnathoid oviraptorosaurian dinosaur known from the Late Cretaceous Nanxiong Formation of Nankang County, Ganzhou City of Jiangxi Province, southeastern China. It contains a single species,Nankangia jiangxiensis. N. jiangxiensis coexisted with at least four other caenagnathoids, including an unnamed oviraptorid, Banji long, Ganzhousaurus nankangensis and Jiangxisaurus ganzhouensis. The relatively short dentary and non-downturned mandibular symphysis of Nankangia suggest that it may have been more herbivorous than carnivorous.
Nankangia was first described and named by Lü Junchang, Yi Laiping, Zhong Hui and Wei Xuefang in 2013 and the type species is Nankangia jiangxiensis. The generic name honors the Chinese administrative unit Nankang County in Jiangxi Province, and the specific name honors the province where the holotype site in Nankang City is located. Nankangia is known solely from the holotype GMNH F10003, a partial lower jaw and partial postcranial skeleton from a single individual, housed at the Ganzhou Museum of Natural History, Ganzhou City of Jiangxi Province. Postcranial material includes five complete dorsal vertebrae, one and one-half sacral vertebrae, nine complete and two partial caudal vertebrae, both scapulocoracoids, an incomplete furcula, a nearly complete right humerus, the complete right and most of the left ilia, the complete right and most of the left pubic bones, the complete right and a partial left ischia, bothfemora, the right tibia, and some dorsal ribs. The holotype was found in 2010 at the town of Longling of Nankang, Ganzhou City, by a local farmer who donated it to the Ganzhou Museum of Natural History. It was collected from the Nanxiong Formation, dating probably to the Maastrichtian stage of the Late Cretaceous.
Nankangia is distinguished from all other oviraptorosaurians based on a combination of traits, some of which are autapomorphic (i.e. unique). On the ventral surface near the base of the transverse process of the dorsal vertebrae two infradiapophyseal fossae are present. The sacral vertebrae bear slit-like pneumatic fossae. The neural spines of the anterior caudal vertebrae are wider transversely than anteroposteriorly, forming a large posterior fossa with a rugose central area. These vertebrae possess a large fossa on the anterior surface of the base of the transverse process (infraprezygapophyseal fossa) and as well as an infradiapophyseal fossa on the ventral surface of the transverse process.
The femur and tibia of Nankangia are approximately the same length. Its femoral neck extends dorsomedially at about 90° to the shaft. It has relatively small ratio of height to length of ilium (0.36), which is additionally shorter than the femur as seen in Yulong and Khaan. The ilium of Nankangia is uniquely shaped, and among oviraptorosaurians, resembles the ilia of Chirostenotes, Rinchenia,Heyuannia and Shixinggia, and clearly differs from the ilium of Luoyanggia. Due to the lack of well preserved corresponding elements between the specimens of Nankangia and Wulatelong, from theWulansuhai Formation of Inner Mongolia, Lü et al. (2013) could not differentiated between them.
The rostral end of the mandibular symphyseal region is not downturned in Nankangia, as in caenagnathids, Incisivosaurus, Luoyanggia and Ganzhousaurus. Unlike the V-shaped mandibular symphysis of Luoyanggia, Nankangia and other oviraptorosaurs have a U-shaped mandibular symphysis. Although Nankangia and Jiangxisaurus possess similar lower jaws, the medial margin of thehumerus is more curved medially in Nankangia than it is in Jiangxisaurus. Based on its phylogenetic position, Nankangia displays five other possible autapomorphies, including an anteriorly projectingacromion, separated anterior and greater trochanters, dorsoventral extension of the pubic peduncle that is deeper than the ischial peduncle, and the lack of a downturned symphyseal portion of the dentary. The latter trait is shared with the coeval Ganzhousaurus and Jiangxisaurus, suggesting a primarily herbivorous diet, whereas Banji and another unnamed oviraptorid from the same formation may have been more carnivorous, as they bear a downturned mandibular symphysis.
The phylogenetic position of Nankangia was explored by Lü et al. (2013) using the data matrix published with the description of Yulong. The obtained topology was resolved, with the exception of a polytomy between the “Ingeniinae”, Oviraptor, and the rest of the Oviraptorinae. Lü et al. (2013) suggested that Nankangia may form a clade with Gigantoraptor and Chirostenotes, and therefore refrained from including the former two taxa in theOviraptoridae, even though this was not supported by their phylogenetic analysis. However, Oviraptoridae is currently defined as a stem-based taxon that excludes caenagnathids but includes Oviraptor, and an alternative definition was not suggested by Lü et al. (2013).
Genus: Nankangia Lü et al., 2013
Type species: Nankangia jiangxiensis Lü et al., 2013
Name: »Jiangxi lizard«
Length: 0,5 – 2 m
Height: 0,2 – 0,5 m
Weight: 1 – 7 kg
Location: Asia (China)
Jiangxisaurus is a genus of oviraptorid theropod from Late Cretaceous of China. The type species is Jiangxisaurus ganzhouensis. Wei et al. (2013) describe an exemplary partial oviraptorosaur from the Upper Cretaceous of central-western China, and establish Jiangxisaurus ganzhouensis .
The only example retains the articulated skull, exposed ventrally, part of the spine, pectoral girdle and forelimb. The absence of teeth, the large window mandibular outer expanded dorsoventralmente, the presence (or so it seems from the text) of the process of interfenestrale surangolare, the presence of pleurocoeli caudal and caudal very long coasts are synapomorphies of caenagnathoidi, in particular of oviraptoridi .
Compared with other oviraptorids, Jiangxiasaurus has a curious combination of characters in the front limb, which has robust humerus, forearm short but relatively slender, long pastern only one third of the humerus, the first metacarpal more robust than the second, first finger short with nail longer than the proximal phalanx. Part of these characters is present in the “ingeniini”, then a suspicion that the new oviraptoride is a member of that line. The articulation between square and quadratojugale is similar to Nemagtomaia , a oviraptoride that combines a ridge premaxillo-nasal “citipatino” and a hand “ingeniina”. The neck is relatively short, as compared to some oviraptorini, although I do not exclude that the immaturity of the specimen (deduced from the non-ossification of the premaxillary) is likely to affect this difference. The sternum, the shape poorly defined margins, seems to corroborate a stadium not fully mature. The authors consider the jaw of Jiangxisaurus relatively slender and elongated compared to other oviraptoridi, however, remain skeptical of this assessment, given that the skull is not exposed in the side view.
In the early twenty-first century in a quarry at a cliff Long Ling to Nankang near Ganzhou in southern province Jiangxi uncovered a theropod skeleton.
In 2013, the type species Jiangxisaurus ganzhouensis was named and briefly described by Wei Xuefang , Pu Hanyong , Xu Li , Liu Di and Lü Junchang . The genus name refers to Jiangxi. The specific name refers to its origins in Ganzhou.
The holotype , HGM41HIII0421 is found in a layer of red sandstone Nanxiongformatie dating from the late Cretaceous. It consists of a partial skeleton with skull, encased in two boulders, which largely lacks the lower back which was destroyed by the mechanical excavation. Preserved: a partial skull, mandibles, eight cervical vertebrae, three vertebrae, nine anterior caudal vertebrae, nine ribs, two chevrons, a shoulder strap, two chest bones, four chest ribs, the left front leg, except the phalanges of the second and third finger on two after, a lot of the ilium of the pelvis and a piece of the buttock. The skeleton was partially although not extremely flattened. It is an immature specimen. It is part of the collection of the Henan Geological Museum .
Jiangxisaurus is a medium oviraptorid of about half to two meters in length, depending on how strong the animal grew.
The descriptors knew some distinguishing characteristics to determine. The coalescence of the anterior lower jaw bends but slightly downwards. The surangulare of the lower jaw has an elongate and hollow outside. The entire lower jaw is highly elongated, with a length which amounts to five times the height. The radius, 70% of the length of the humerus.
The skull has a length of about six cm. The cranium is visible from below so that the upper portions can not be detected properly. The orbit is large and round with a diameter of forty-three millimeters. The cheekbone is T-shaped with an ascending branch that is at odds with the main body. A groove on the outer lower end of the Quadratum indicates a joint contact with the quadratojugale. The palate is more noticeable. In side view, the anterior branch of the pterygoid cave, the posterior branch sphere. The branch of the pterygoid to the palate bone is ruggedly built and close to both forward and further from to when ectopterygoïde, two thick bone forming beams in the longitudinal direction separated by long narrow slit.
The lower jaw, thirteen cm long, is toothless. The mandibles form a deformed U-shaped mandible. Their vergroeiingsvlak front is fairly short with a length of twenty-two millimeters. The front of the mandible is slightly bent down and has a convex cutting edge, which, judging by the many wells that indicate a horn shaft, when life was a lower bill. Provide The side window of the lower jaw, twenty five millimeters long and high, extends far forward in the dentarium out. The surangulare has a shallow longitudinal groove on the outer side. It is closely angulare and elongated. The lower jaw joint is formed entirely by the articular, it is circular in plan and slightly convex in the longitudinal direction.
The hyoid bone , six cm long, slender and elongated.
The neck has a preserved length of twenty centimeters. The turner has a high vertebral arch. The remaining cervical vertebrae are not strong extended and do not differ much in length. Their front facets are seen from below them twice as wide their rear. Their undersides are moderately concave. The first three cervical vertebrae have pleurocoelen on their sides. The anterior spinal projections stabbing far out, up to the middle of the previous vertebra, but the posterior vertebral protrusions do not reach beyond the rear side of the own vertebra. The epipofysen are moderately large. The preserved vertebrae are relatively short. The ribs are slender and slightly curved. The vertebrae of the tail are short and wide. They have a pneumatic opening on the underside of the base of the lateral extensions.
The chest bones are elongated oval with a width of fourteen cm. They have a sloping front and four sternal ribs on each side. When was the last rib fused holotype, a sign that it is not going to be a very young one.
In the shoulder girdle are the scapula and the ravenbeksbeen not fused. The shoulder blade is long with a curved shaft. The ravenbeksbeen is short and wide with a rectangular profile. It is pierced by a large, dominant, foramen, slightly beyond the center line located forward. There is a rounded hump on the inside. The protrusion on the lower rear cross weak backwards.
The humerus, 136 millimeters long, almost straight in front view. It has a well-developed deltopectorale comb whose highest point represents the maximum width of the humerus, with six cm four times as wide as the narrowest point of the shaft. The lower end of the humerus is widened and rounded. The forearm is approximately 70% of the length of the upper arm and is slimmer built. The ulna has a length of ninety-five millimeters and a width of twelve millimeters, at the radius amounts sizes ninety-six and eight millimeters, respectively. The radius is weathered and the length is only an estimate, if it is correct, has Jiangxisaurus relatively longest radius of all oviraptoriden. The ulna is straight with flat articular surfaces and a much more expanded than lower top end. Across the radius has a circular cross section.
The wrist bones are only fragmentary and present some details could not be determined.
The first, second and third metacarpal with a length of twenty-five, forty-five and thirty-five millimeters respectively. The first metacarpal is particularly robust with a widened lower end. The first finger is the most robust and wide, with a first joint of three cm lag and an cm thick, and carries a large claw strongly curved and flattened with a weak bump as attachment to the tendon of the feeble muscle. The curvature creates an arc of 120 °. The second metacarpal bone is rod-shaped. The second phalanges may be kept for the last of the second and third finger. The second and third hand claws are unknown.
The fragmentary pelvic parts are no details visible.
Jiangxisaurus by the descriptors in the Oviraptoridae placed. A cladistic analysis was not performed, so it was not possible to determine accurately it’s position in the tree.
Genus: Jiangxisaurus, Wei et al.,2013
Species: J. ganzhouensis
Binomial name: Jiangxisaurus ganzhouensis, Wei et al.,2013
Name: (Anzu – feathered demon)
Length: 3 – 3,5 m
Height: 1,5 m
Weight: 200 – 300 kg
Time: Cretaceous (66 MYA)
Location: North America
Anzu (pronounced: SEE-nuh-NAY-thih-DAY) is a genus of oviraptorosaurian dinosaurs from the late Cretaceous (66 million years ago) of North Dakota and South Dakota, US. Named for Anzû, a feathered demon in ancient Mesopotamian mythology, the type species is Anzu wyliei.
Anzu wyliei is characterized by a toothless beak, a prominent crest, long arms ending in slender, relatively straight claws, long powerful legs with slender toes, and a relatively short tail. In life, the animal was probably covered with feathers and measured about 3 metres (9.8 ft) to 3.5 metres (11 ft) long, up to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) tall at the hips and 200 kilograms (440 lb) to 300 kilograms (660 lb) in weight. It was thus one of the largest known oviraptorosaurs and the largest known from North America (though the giant Mongolian oviraptorosaurGigantoraptor was far larger). Anzu was placed in the Oviraptorosauria, as a member of the Caenagnathidae.
When the type specimen of Anzu was described, several autapomorphies, unique derived traits, were established. There is a high crescent-like crest on the skull, formed by the upper branches of the praemaxillae. The occipital condyle is wider than the foramen magnum. The front part of the lower jaw, which is fused with its counterpart, has a prominent flange on its outer side. The retroarticular process, a prominent projection at the rear of the lower jaw, is elongated, about as long as the jaw joint surface. The lower end of the radius is divided into two rounded processes. The first phalanx of the second finger has a trough along the lower edge of its inner side. The front side of the astragalus has a tubercle at the base of its ascending process.
An additional four possible autapomorphies were identified in the referred specimens. The main body of the maxilla has no depression around the antorbital fenestra. The nasal branch of the maxilla is elongated and constructed like an inverted L. The branch of the jugal towards the quadratojugal is vertically deep. The same branch is forked at its rear end.
Several large skeletons from the late Maastrichtian Hell Creek Formation of Montana and South Dakota were initially referred to as “cf. Chirostenotes”, though more recent studies concluded that they represent new species.
In 1998 Fred Nuss of Nuss Fossils found one of the fossils near Buffalo, South Dakota. One of these, holotype specimen CM 78000, was given the species name Anzu wyliei in March 2014. The other, CM 78001, was discovered by Robert Detrich found 100 metres (330 ft) away and referred to the species. Both were mostly disarticulated and appeared to have been transported by a water current. A third referred specimen, fragmentary skeleton MRF 319, studied by Tyler Lyson of the National Museum of Natural History, was discovered by Scott Haire, who spotted the bones at his uncle’s ranch at Marmarth, North Dakota. A rear lower jaw fragment, FMNH PR 2296, was also referred.
These four fossils found at Hell Creek together make up a fairly complete skeleton of Anzu wyliei, comprising about 75 to 80 per cent of the whole skeleton. Three researchers, Emma Schachner of the University of Utah, Matthew Lamanna of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Tyler Lyson of the Smithsonian in Washington realized in 2006 that they each had partial skeletons of the same species and began collaborating to study it, assisted by Hans-Dieter Sues, a paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History of theSmithsonian Institution in Washington.The main fossils are being held at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.
The genus is notable as the first well-preserved example of a North American oviraptorosaur. According to Sues, “for almost a hundred years, the presence of oviraptorosaurs in North America was only known from a few bits of skeleton, and the details of their appearance and biology remained a mystery. With the discovery of A. wyliei, we finally have the fossil evidence to show what this species looked like and how it is related to other dinosaurs.”
The creature’s formidable appearance – “big crests on their skulls, a beak, no teeth, and a very bird-like skeleton” – and its discovery in the Hell Creek Formation led to it being jokingly nicknamed the “chicken from hell”. Matthew Lamanna, who devised the species’ name, originally wanted to use a Latin or Greek version of “chicken from hell”. However, he found that the nickname did not work so well in those languages, so he eventually settled on evoking the name of the feathered demon Anzû from the mythology of ancient Sumer. The specific name, wyliei, honors Wylie J. Tuttle, the grandson of one of the museum’s donors, Lee B. Foster.
It had been expected that oviraptorosaurs would be found in North America, as well as the documented specimens in Asia, as the two continents had a land connection during the Cretaceous, but the discovery of Anzu wyliei indicates that North American oviraptorosaurs were related more closely to each other than to their counterparts in Asia .
Anzu was probably an omnivore or herbivore, although the beak is not as heavily constructed as in the Asian Oviraptoridae. Other differences from its Asian cousins include size – the Asian Oviraptoridae were smaller – as well as thicker legs and different lower jaws. The fossils of Anzu wyliei were found in mudstone rock that had once been part of ancient floodplains. This indicates that the species likely had a lifestyle significantly different from its Asian counterparts, which lived in arid or semi-arid conditions. Its lifestyle, according to Stephen Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh, was that of “a fast-running, ecological generalist that didn’t quite fit the usual moulds of meat-eating or plant-eating dinosaur.” Its jaw morphology suggests that it could eat a variety of food items, including vegetation, small animals, and possibly eggs. While a number of its features were similar to those of modern birds, it was not an avian dinosaur and its line died out in the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago, along with all the rest of the non-avian dinosaurs. Its bird-like features are instead an example of convergent evolution. Matthew Lamanna comments that “it would have had a lot of birdy behaviors. When people think of a dinosaur, they think of something like a T. rex or a brontosaurus, and when they think of a bird, they think of something like a sparrow or a chicken. This animal, Anzu, has a mosaic of features of both of those groups, and so it basically provides a really nice link in the evolutionary chain.”
The purpose of Anzu’s large crest is unclear; Sues notes that it “is very large and made of paper-thin bone, so it was not able to take much stress. All oviraptosaurs have this crest but it is certainly the largest in A. wyliei. The most likely function is for display, showing off to members of your own species. The Australian cassowary has a similar crest which is thought to be used to attract mates, so it is possible that A. wyliei could have used its crest in a similar fashion.” The fossils showed evidence of injuries, including a healed broken rib and an arthritic toe that was probably the result of a tendon being ripped away from the bone (an avulsion fracture). It is not known whether this indicates that the animals fought each other, or were injured by predators.
Genus: Anzu Lamanna et al., 2014
Type species: Anzu wyliei Lamanna et al., 2014
Name: »traveler from Ingen«
Length: 1,5 m
Height: 0,5 m
Weight: 6 kg
Time: Cretaceous (78-68 MYA)
Location: Asia (Mongolia)
Ajancingenia is a genus of oviraptorid theropod dinosaurs, with one known species, Ajancingenia yanshini. Fossils have been found in several Late Cretaceous-age formations (approximately 70 million years ago) of Mongolia, most prominently in the Khermin Tsav beds of the Barun Goyot Formation. Ajancingenia is known from several specimens, which include the arms, legs, pelvis, shoulder girdle, and partial skull, and a few vertebrae. Some material referred to as Ajancingenia comes from younger formations, but the identification of some of these specimens is questionable.
Ajancingenia was first described and named by Rinchen Barsbold in 1981 and the type species is Ingenia yanshini. The name “Ingenia” derives from the Ingen Khoboor Depression of Bayankhongor Province, Mongolia, from whence it was collected, while the specific name yanshini was chosen in honour of academician Aleksandr Leonidovich Yanshin (1911–1999), who was adviser and mentor to Rinchen Barsbold during his time at the Paleontological Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia. The generic name Ingenia was preoccupied by the generic name of Ingenia mirabilis Gerlach, 1957, a tripyloidid nematode. Thus, an alternative generic name, Ajancingenia, was proposed by Jesse Easter in 2013. The replacement generic name is derived also from ajanc (аянч) a traveler in Mongolian, as a Western allusion of sticking one’s thumb out for hitchhiking, in reference to the first manual ungual of Ajancingenia which is twice as large as the second.
Ajancingenia belongs to the oviraptorids, as distinguished by a pubis with a forward-curving shaft (among other features), and by the unique shape of the lower jaw with a strongly S-curved jaw margin, short snout, and rounded, fused cranial bones. Some material includes paired sternal plates fused along the midline and bearing a short carina.
It is distinguished from all other oviraptorids by manual digit I subequal in length to digit II, and from all other oviraptorids except Nemegtomaia barsboldi by manual ungual I more than 100% larger than ungual II.
Genus: Ajancingenia Easter, 2013
Type species: Ingenia yanshini Barsbold, 1981
Species: Ajancingenia yanshini (Barsbold, 1981)
Synonyms: Ingenia yanshini Barsbold, 1981 (preoccupied)
Name: »dawn bird«
Length: 50 cm
Height: 20 cm
Weight: 500 g
Time: Jurassic (160 MYA)
Location: Asia (China)
Aurornis (pronounced; or-ROAR-niss ) is an extinct genus of dinosaurs from the Jurassic period of China. The genus Aurornis contains a single known species, Aurornis xui Aurornis xui may be the most basal (“primitive”) avialan dinosaurs known to date, and it is one of the earliest avialan found to date. The fossil evidence for the animal pre-dates that of the famous Archaeopteryx lithographica, often considered the earliest bird species, by about 10 million years.
Aurornis xui was first described and named by Pascal Godefroit, Andrea Cau, Hu Dong-Yu, François Escuillié, Wu Wenhao and Gareth Dyke in 2013. The generic name is derived from the Latin word aurora, meaning “daybreak” or “dawn”, and theAncient Greek ὄρνις (órnis) meaning “bird”. The specific name, A. xui, honors Xu Xing.
Aurornis was described from a sedimentary rock fossil in 2013. The fossil was purchased from a local dealer who said it had been unearthed in Yaoluguo in western Liaoning, China. Subsequent analysis confirmed it came from the Tiaojishan Formation, which has been dated to the late Jurassic period (Oxfordian stage), approximately 160 million years ago. The fossil features traces of downy feathers along the animal’s tail, chest, and neck. It was only partially prepared at the time of purchase with the feathers not showing, and bore no signs of forgery.
On 7th June 2013, however, Science Magazine published an article which noted that Pascal Godefroit, the paleontologist who led the team that described Aurornis, reported that he is uncertain if the fossil material came from Liaoning province’s 160-million-year-old Tiaojishan Formation, as the information provided by the fossil dealer indicated, or from the province’s 125-million-year-old Yixian Formation, which is known to have produced several ancient bird fossils. The failure to secure rigorous provenance information cats doubt on the claim that Aurornis is 160 million years old and predates Archeopteryx. Godefroit’s team will attempt to confirm the specimen’s provenance, and its age, by conducting mineralogical and botanical analysis on the shale slab and then publishing their findings.
Aurornis was roughly the size of a modern pheasant – 50 cm (20 in) in length from beak to tail tip. It had claws and a long tail. Its leg bones are similar to those of Archaeopteryx, but overall its bone structure is more primitive. The absence of larger feathers suggests A. xui was unable to fly. Aurornis lived roughly 160 million years ago, roughly 10 million years prior to Archaeopteryx, which often has been described as the first bird.
A phylogenetic analysis of Aurornis published in 2013 found that it belongs in the bird lineage, in a more basal position than Archaeopteryx. The analysis was based on “almost 1,500 [anatomical] characteristics.”
The classification of A. xui as a bird is somewhat contentious, however, due to the various differing definitions of the word “bird”. Recent discoveries “[emphasize] how grey the dividing line is between birds and [non-avian] dinosaurs”, says Paul Barrett of the Natural History Museum in London. “There’s such a gradation in features between them that it’s very difficult to tell them apart … [Aurornis xui] is certainly an older member of the bird lineage than Archaeopteryx, and it’s fair to call it a very primitive bird. But what you call a bird comes down to what you call a bird, and a lot of definitions depend on Archaeopteryx.” Bird evolution specialist Lawrence Witmer called the new analysis compelling, but said it remains difficult to distinguish birds from birdlike dinosaurs: “All of these little feathered species running and flapping around … were all very similar.”
American paleontologist Luis Chiappe said that A. xui’s forelimb is too short to be a true bird. It “is very birdlike, but it is not yet a bird,” he concluded.
Genus: Aurornis Godefroit et al., 2013
Type species: Aurornis xui / Godefroit et al., 2013
Name: »Wulate dragon«
Length: 1, 5 m
Height: 0,6 m
Weight: 29 kg
Time: Cretacous (84-71 MYA)
Location: Asia (China)
Wulatelong (pronounced: Woo-la-tuh-long ) is an extinct genus of basal oviraptorid dinosaur known from the Late Cretaceous Wulansuhai Formation (Campanian stage) of Bayan Mandahu, Linhe District of Inner Mongolia, northern China. It contains a single species, Wulatelong gobiensis. The genus name combines the name of the region Wulate with the Chinese word long, “dragon”. It consists of a fairly complete skeleton lying in connection with skull and mandibles. Have been preserved: the lower part of the right side of the skull, skull elements of the roof, the back of the right mandible, eleven vertebrae, sixteen tail vertebrae, the left belt with left front leg, a dislocated right shoulder girdle, the right pelvis and right leg. Wulatelong oviraptoride is a fairly small, with a body length of about five feet and an estimated weight of twenty-nine kilograms. The femur is 255 millimeters long.
Here we report a new oviraptorid taxon based on a specimen collected from the Upper Cretaceous Wulansuhai Formation of Bayan Mandahu, Linhe, China. This new taxon is distinguishable from other oviraptorid species by the following unique features: the ventral extremity of the large and elongate external naris is located below the mid-height of the premaxilla, the strap-like jugal process of the maxilla extends well beyond the preorbital bar posteriorly and overlaps the jugal, and the anterodorsal process of the surangular is basally constricted in
lateral view. Although diagnosable as an oviraptorid, this new taxon possesses several plesiomorphic features absent in other oviraptorids but reminiscent of more basal oviraptorosaurs, suggesting a relatively basal position within the Oviraptoridae. The infratemporal fenestra has a narrow dorsal border, the anterior and posterior processes of the lacrimal are relatively long, the ectopterygoid is located relatively posteriorly, the external mandibular fenestra is comparatively posterior in position, the scapula is relatively short
and slender, the pubic peduncle of the ilium is both more ventrally extended and much wider anteroposteriorly than the ischial peduncle, the ischium is relatively short, and metatarsal III is compressed between metatarsals II and IV. This taxon, Wulatelong gobiensis gen. et sp. nov., is therefore inferred to be a basal oviraptorid. A preliminary analysis of the Bayan Mandahu dinosaur fauna supports the view that the Bayan Mandahu strata are the oldest Upper Cretaceous red beds exposed in the Gobi area of the Mongolian Plateau.
Genus: Wulatelong Xu et al., 2013
Type species: Wulatelong gobiensis Xu et al., 2013
Name: »Ganzhou lizard«
Length: 2 m
Height: 0,9 m
Weight: 40 kg
Time: Cretaceous (71-68,5 MYA)
Location: Asia (China)
Ganzhousaurus (pronounced: kan-jo-SOR-us ) is an extinct genus of oviraptorine oviraptorid dinosaur known from the Late Cretaceous Nanxiong Formation of Nankang County, Ganzhou City of Jiangxi Province, southern China. It contains a single species, Ganzhousaurus nankangensis. Ganzhousaurus is derived from “Ganzhou” (for Ganzhou City) and the Greek “sauros” (lizard). The species epithet, nankangensis, is derived from “Nankang” (for Nankang County) and the Latin “-ensis” (from, place of origin). The holotype (SDM 20090302) is a partial skeleton including part of the lower jaw, some tail vertebrae, fragments of the pelvis and limbs, and a foot.
The holotype of Ganzhousaurus is a pretty hefty animal with a body length of about two meters, indicating a weight of about 40 kilograms.
This paper describes a new oviraptorid dinosaur taxon, Ganzhousaurus nankangensis gen. et sp. nov., based on a specimen collected from the Upper Cretaceous Nanxiong Formation of Nankang County, Ganzhou City, Jiangxi Province, southern China. This new taxon is distinguishable from other oviraptorids based on the following unique combination of primitive and derived features: relatively shallow dentary; absence of fossa or pneumatopore on lateral surface of dentary; weakly downturned anterior mandibular end; shallow depression immediately surrounding anterior margin of external mandibular fenestra; external mandibular fenestra subdivided by anterior process of surangular; dentary posteroventral process slightly twisted and positioned on mandibular
ventrolateral surface; shallow longitudinal groove along medial surface of dentary posteroventral process; angular anterior process wider transversely than deep dorsoventrally; sharp groove along ventrolateral surface of angular anterior process; ventral border of external mandibular fenestra formed mainly by angular; ventral flange along distal half of metatarsal II; and arctometatarsal condition absent. Phylogenetic analysis places Ganzhousaurus nankangensis gen. et sp. nov. in the clade Oviraptoridae, together with Oviraptor, Citipati, Rinchenia and the unnamed Zamyn Khondt oviraptorid.
The midfoot is, with a length of fourteen inches against the relatively short, with respect to the toes.
Ganzhousaurus placed despite the many basic features in Oviraptoridae by the descriptors, after an exact cladistic analysis.
Genus: Ganzhousaurus Wang et al., 2013
Type species: Ganzhousaurus nankangensis, Wang et al., 2013
Name: »early Chinese wing«
Length: 30 cm
Height: 15 cm
Weight: 100 g
Diet: carnivore, omnivore
Time: Jurassic (161-156 MYA)
Location: Asia (China)
Eosinopteryx (pronounced: EE-oh-si-NOP-ter-ix ) is an extinct genus of basal troodontid theropod dinosaur known from the Late Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation of western Liaoning Province, China. It contains a single species, Eosinopteryx brevipenna.
Eosinopteryx brevipenna is known from a single fossil specimen representing the nearly complete skeleton of a subadult or adult individual. The specimen is very small for a non-avialan dinosaur, measuring about 30 centimetres (12 in) long. Unlike most other troodontids, the snout was very short, shorter than the diameter of the eye socket. The wings were about the same size as those of the related Anchiornis, with the primary wing feathers being longer than the humerus (upper arm bone). An unusual arrangement of the wing bones would have prevented any flapping motion. The tail was very short compared to most other members of the group Deinonychosauria, and unlike other known deinonychosaurs, the feet and toes were very slender, lacking highly curved claws for predation. Unusually, the tail seems to have completely lacked complex vaned feathers (rectrices), and the lower tarsals and feet appear to have been featherless, unlike some related species with “hind wings” on the lower legs and feet.
A researcher from the University of Southampton said the discovery of Eosinopteryx suggests “that the origin of flight was much more complex than previously thought”.
Genus: Eosinopteryx Godefroit et al., 2013
Type species: Eosinopteryx brevipenna, Godefroit et al., 2013
Name: »beautiful dragon«
Length: 25 – 50 cm
Height: 30 cm
Weight: 0,5 – 1 kg
Time: Cretaceous (99-66 MYA)
Location: Asia (China)
Yulong (pronounced: yuh-long) is an extinct genus of derived oviraptorid theropod dinosaur known from the Late Cretaceous Qiupa Formation of Henan Province, central China. It contains a single species, Yulong mini. It is known from many juvenile specimens that represent some of the smallest known oviraptorids.
Specimens of Yulong were collected near Qiupa Town in Luanchuan County, Henan Province, from the Qiupa Formation. The exact geological age of the Qiupa Formation is unknown, but it probably dates to the Late Cretaceous based on the presence of oviraptorids (Yulong), dromaeosaurids (Luanchuanraptor), ornithomimids (Qiupalong) and other, undescribed, derived dinosaur specimens.
Yulong was first described and named by Junchang Lü, Philip J. Currie, Li Xu, Xingliao Zhang, Hanyong Pu and Songhai Jia in 2013 and the type species is Yulong mini. The generic name is derived from Chinese (Yù), the one-character abbreviation of Henan Province, in reference to the occurrence of the genus, and from lóng meaning “dragon” – a suffix commonly used to name Chinese dinosaurs like the Greek saurus is in the West. The specific name, mini, refers to the small size of the specimens.
Yulong is based on a syntype series of five specimens: HGM 41HIII-0107: an exceptionally well-preserved skeleton with a skull and lower jaws that is housed in the Henan Geological Museum, only lacking the skull and the neck base; HGM 41HIII-0108: a skull lacking the lower jaws; HGM 41HIII-0109: a partial skeleton with skull and lower jaws; HGM 41HIII-0110: a partial skull with lower jaws and some neck vertebrae; and HGM 41HIII-0111: a left ilium. Additional finds have been mentioned in the describing paper. One exceptionally preserved embryo (within an egg) is HGM 41HIII-0301, which came from a nest of 26 eggs.
While oviraptorids were generally one to eight metres in body length, Yulong was described as “chicken-sized” by its describers. Most of the Yulong individuals had a total body length of a quarter to half a meter, making them some of the smallest known oviraptorids.
The describing authors established some diagnostic traits. The front upper corner of the fenestra antorbitalis and the rear upper corner of the bony nostril are positioned at about the same height. The premaxilla shows a distinctive opening below and in front of the nostril. The rear upper process of the premaxilla touches the upper rim of the fenestra antorbitalis but not the front process of the lacrimal; both bones are separated by the nasal bone. The parietal approaches the frontal bone in length. At the fourth and fifth neck vertebrae, the rear edge of the vertebral centrum forms a straight line between the postzygapophyses. The thigh bone is longer than the ilium.
According to the authors, the hindlimb proportions of oviraptorids do not essentially change during growth, indicating a more sedentary lifestyle and thus probably herbivory.
A phylogenetic analysis performed by the describers found Yulong to be more derived than the gigantic oviraptorid Gigantoraptor erlianensis, and less derived than (as a sister taxon to) the clade formed by the Oviraptorinae and the “Ingeniinae”. However, the describers cautioned that thephylogenetic position of Yulong is still uncertain, because younger specimens tend to display more basal traits than adult specimens that are unknown for Yulong.
Genus: Yulong, Lü et al., 2013
Type species: Yulong mini, Lü et al., 2013