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Jinfengopteryx (Emily Willoughby)


Jinfengopteryx (Greek for "Jinfeng wing"); pronounced JIN-feng-OP-ter-ix


Plains of Asia

Historical Period:

Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous (150-140 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About two feet long and 10 pounds


Probably omnivorous

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Small size; feathers


About Jinfengopteryx:

When its intact fossil (complete with the impressions of feathers) was discovered a few years ago, Jinfengopteryx was identified as a prehistoric bird, and then as an early avian pioneer comparable to Archaeopteryx; only later did paleontologists notice some marked similarities with the troodonts (a family of feathered dinosaurs epitomized by Troodon). Today, Jinfengopteryx's blunt snout and enlarged hind claws point to it having been a genuine dinosaur, albeit one well along the "bird" end of the evolutionary spectrum.

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