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Microraptor
Temporal range: Early Cretaceous
Restoration of Microraptor gui
An artist's illustration of Microraptor gui
Microraptor gui holotype
A fossil of Microraptor gui (with white arrows pointing at preserved feathers)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Dromaeosauridae
Subfamily: Microraptoria
Genus: Microraptor
Xu et al., 2000
Type species
Microraptor zhaoianus
Xu et al., 2000
Referred species
  • Microraptor zhaoianus (Xu et al., 2000)
  • Microraptor gui (Xu et al., 2003)
  • Microraptor hanqingi (Gong et al., 2012)
Synonyms
  • Cryptovolans Czerkas et al., 2002

Microraptor (small thief) was a genus of small Dromaeosaur that lived in what would become China during the Cretaceous period.

Microraptor was one of the smallest known non-ave dinosaurs. An unusual and unique feature were the four wings it had. Not like a dragonfly, but wings on its arms and legs. It was a carnivore, having been found with Enantiornithe (an extinct type of bird) remains. However, Microraptor has also been theorized to have eaten fish and fruit in addition, the prior having fossil evidence. Microraptor has been found with feet similar to birds of prey, suggesting it was an active hunter, possibly restraining or grappling its prey with its talons. It was one of the several (highly likely) flying non-avian dinosaurs, having adaptations similar to modern birds like a propatagium and an allula, though having a more bat-like wing musculature. By comparing the patterns of pigment-containing organelles from a Microraptor fossil to those in modern birds, the scientists determined that the dinosaur's plumage was iridescent with hues of black and blue like the feathers of a crow.

History[]

The first Microraptor fossil found was a tail. When it was found, it was added to the body of Yanornis. The resulting chimera was named Archaeoraptor. Later, the scientists realized their mistake and tried to assign the name Archaeoraptor to the Microraptor tail. However, Chinese scientist Xu Xing had discovered more fossils and called them Microraptor. In 2010, it was discovered that over 300 skeletons belong to this species, one of them belonging to a dinosaur previously called Cryptovolans.

Description[]

Microraptor was one of the smallest dinosaurs, at only 90 cm (3 ft) long and weighing about as much as a turkey. Microraptor had four wings, which was unusual even for a bird-like dinosaur. However, the backlimbs did not contribute to flight at all after various studies, and is instead presumed to be for display.

Classification[]

Microraptor is classified in the subfamily Microraptoria within Dromaeosauridae. Other dinosaurs in Microraptoria include Graciliraptor, Hesperonychus, Shanag, and Sinornithosaurus.

In popular culture[]

  • In The Land Before Time XII: the Great Day of the Flyers and in Hermit of the Black Rock, Guido is a Microraptor and he was the only dinosaur that glides. He has a strange color, being green, which some scientists think it was iridescent black. The skull shape of Microraptor is known to be weird, as around the base is taller and the tip gradually gets narrower. Some evidence showed that Microraptor probably Did have feather crests like the fossil showed seemed to show.
  • It was also featured in Prehistoric Park from the episode "Dinobirds" onwards, when Nigel Marven had captured them in a mid-Cretaceous Chinese forest. It had another strange color, being black, white, pink, and red black, white, and rusty red, which some scientists think it was iridescent black. The skull shape of Microraptor is known to be a little right, as around the base is taller and the tip gradually gets narrower. Some evidence showed that Microraptor probably did have feather crests like the fossil showed seemed to show.
  • Microraptor made an appearance in Dinosaur King.
Tlbt micrptr

The land before time Guido

  • Microraptor also made an appearance in Planet Dinosaur chasing a lizard, but it was ambushed by another dinosaur, Sinornithosaurus and had to escape. It had a beautiful color, being brown, white and black, which some scientists think it was iridescent black. The skull shape of Microraptor is known to be a little right, as around the base is taller and the tip gradually gets narrower. Some evidence showed that Microraptor probably did have feather crests like the fossil showed seemed to show.
    Maxresdefault planet dinosaur Mrcarptr

    Microraptor as seen in Planet Dinosa

Hqdefault PP Microraptor

Microraptor as seen in Prehistoric Par

  • Microraptor also appeared in the two-part movie, Tarbosaurus: The Mightest Ever, where it is known as the "Sleeping Beauty" of the Forest. One female is encountered by the main character, Patch the Tarbosaurus, as a hatchling.
  • Microraptor also appeared in the movie, The Dino King/Speckles the Tarbosaurus, where a pair of them get the attention of, and are encountered by the main character, Speckles the Tarbosaurus, as an orphaned hatchling.
  • It appears in Dino Dan: Trek's Adventures as a glorious color, being blue, white and red, which some scientists think it was iridescent black. The skull shape of Microraptor is known to be either unknown or a little right, as around the base is taller and the tip gradually gets narrower.
  • It made a minor appearance in T.Rex New Science New Beast.
Microraptor ark

Ark's Microraptor

  • It appears in Dino Lab II. It had another beautiful color, being black, white, and rusty red, which the real creature was iridescent black. The skull shape of Microraptor is known to be a little right, as around the base is taller and the tip gradually gets narrower. Some evidence showed that Microraptor probably did have feather crests like the fossil showed seemed to show.
Microraptor Dinosaur train

Dinosaur Train microraptor

Although all the previous shows mentioned got the color scheme a little correct, the closest color scheme is from Dinosaur Train. There, the Microraptors are depicted as dark purple and light pink, very close to the other's iridescent black.

  • It appears in the documentary, Conquest of the Sky, where the known model is skinny, with black feathering and a yellow beak.
  • Microraptor gui appears as a micro aviary animal in Prehistoric Kingdom.
Flap to The Future Logo

Microraptor shown in the Flap to the Future logo [at top back] along with Tawa, an American robin, and "Future Bird."

Gallery[]

Microraptor/Gallery

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