3d History

Microraptor - Jurassic flying dionosaur

Microraptor gui is believed to be an ancestor of the birds from the early part of the Cretaceous period
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Name:Microraptor Gui, meaning 'Little Thief'
Length:About 1 metre (3ft)
Weight:About 1kg (2.2lb)
Range:Fossils have been found in eastern parts of Modern China
Feeding:Carnivore eating meat, insects and worms
Period:Early Cretaceous about 125 million years ago

Mesozoic Era
Triassic Period Jurassic Period Cretaceous Period
Early - Middle Late Early Middle Late Early Middle Late
248 227 206 180 154 144 127 89 65
  Microraptor Gui  

Microraptor Gui was a small saurischian (lizard hipped) dinosaur that lived during the early Cretaceous period about 125 million years ago.

Fossils of six specimens of Microraptor were found in China in 2003, causing a stir amongst palaeontologists; along with Archaeopteryx and Caudipteryx, Microraptor offers more evidence to support the theory that there is an evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds.

Microraptor Gui had true asymmetrical flight feathers on both its arms and legs and, as with modern birds, there are two types: primary feathers, anchored to the hands, and secondary feathers, anchored to the arms.

Microraptor may have been able to sustain level flight but probably glided more often than not

The four wing layout, positioned in a biplane arrangement, suggests that Microraptor may have glided rather than flown, although it was probably capable of sustained level flight.

Microraptor Gui couldn't lift its arms vertically to allow it to take off from the ground like modern birds, so it probably launched itself from a high place, like a branch in a tree.

It's unlikely that Microraptor would have been a good runner; having feathers on its legs would have been a hindrance. It is argued that the animal would have been adapted to living in the trees, an argument that is supported by Microraptor's feet being similar to modern birds.

Birds are related to dromaeosaurs, part of a group of bipedal carnivorous dinosaurs called theropods. This group included Velociraptor, made famous by Steven Spielberg's film Jurassic Park.