Cryptovolans Pauli

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cryptovolans Pauli is 90 cm long feathered dromaeosaurid dinosaur newly discovered in the Jiufotang site, China. Its species name honors paleontologist Gregory S. Paul. Cryptovolans is linked to Velociraptor.

Cryptovolans is extraordinary for being the first known dinosaur to have flight-capable feathers on its legs as well as on its arms. It also had feathers on the ending of its long tail, and probably on the rest of its body. It is supposed that Cryptovolans may have been able to fly better than Archaeopteryx, the animal usually referred as the earliest known bird. Possessing a keel and ribs with an uncinate procedure, Cryptovolans has modern bird skin which are absent in Archaeopteryx.

The fact that this flight-capable animal is also very obviously a dromaeosaurid suggests that the Dromaeosauridae might in fact be a basal bird group, and that later (larger) species such as Deinonychus were actually secondarily flightless. Current evidence for this hypothesis is inconclusive, and some of the modern bird-like features in Crytovolans may have evolved separately. Regardless of whether dromaeosaurs are a sister group to birds or actual members of Aves, both groups are part of the Maniraptora suborder and are in the end theropod dinosaurs.

Many think that Cryptovolans is a for children synonym of Microraptor.

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