Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Sinornithosaurus millenii Dromaeosauridae  (Chinese bird-lizard discovered near the turn of the millennium)

Sihetun region, Beipaio, Liaoning Province, China

It was the first dromaeosaur to be found where the preservation was so good its feathers could be clearly seen. About 1 m long, it had the longest arms relative to its leg length of any dinosaur so far found. On the depressed region of the skull in front of the eyes are some unusual grooves and pits. It had only a few teeth, but the are much larger than other dromaeosaurids. It shares a number of features with Archaeopteryx. The 3 specimens known at the time of writing include 2 species, one of which is a juvenile nicknamed 'Dave'. Dave was found with its wings folded like those of a bird.

It has been suggested  that the enlarged claw on the second toe of dromaeosaurids was probably used in this creature to assist in climbing in trees.

The other species is S. haoiana ("Hao's Chinese bird-lizard")

It has recently been reported that they had a fang-lik tooth about half way along the top jaw that was grooved, as in back-fanged snakes. There is also a depression in the bone above the fang that it has been suggested may have been where a venom gland was situated. Its front teeth are modified in such a way that some think they may have been used to pluck its prey, bird or dinosaur.

Sources & Further reading

  • Feathered Dinosaurs: the Origin of Birds, John Long and Peter Schouten, CSIRO Publishing
  • Cosmos magazine, Feb/Mar 2010

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Last updated 14/08/2011 

 

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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email: admin@austhrutime.com     Sources & Further reading