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Sinocalliopteryx (Nobu Tamura)


Sinocalliopteryx (Greek for "beautiful Chinese feather"); pronounced SIGH-no-CAL-ee-OP-ter-ix


Plains of Asia

Historical Period:

Early Cretaceous (130 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 7 feet long and 50-75  pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Large size; feathers on body and feet


About Sinocalliopteryx:

As an example of how big Sinocalliopteryx was, compared to other dino-birds of the early Cretaceous period, a fossilized specimen has been found with the remains of a raptor in its gut--proving that some feathered dinosaurs hunted and ate other feathered dinosaurs. While 7 feet long and 75 pounds may not sound very impressive, in terms of later dinosaurs, these measurements were apparently enough to put Sinocalliopteryx near the top of the Eurasian food chain. (The closest competitor of this dinosaur appears to have been another large dino-bird, Huaxiagnathus.)

Not only was Sinocalliopteryx big, but it sported big feathers, too. The remains of this theropod bear the imprints of tufts as long as four inches, as well as shorter feathers around its feet. And a new study shows that Sinocalliopteryx put its size to good use: an individual has been identified harboring the remains of no less than three fossilized specimens of Confuciusornis, a much smaller dino-bird that may actually have been capable of powered flight.


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