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Chinese raptor

Chinese raptor - Sinornithosaurus
Did you know that… ?
  • ...the Sinornithosaurus' body was covered with feathers, which certainly did not serve for flight, but likely as insulation for warmth?
  • ...Sinornithosaurus was a close relative of the predatory Velociraptor and Deinonychus?
  • ...fossilized melanosomes have been found with Sinornithosaurus fossils, from which we know that the feathers of this dinosaur were orange, yellow and black?
  • ...the name Sinornithosaurus is from Latin and Greek, and means "Chinese bird lizard"?
  • ...sinornithosaurus was discovered by scientists of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing?
  • ...a study was published in 2009 indicating that Sinornithosaurus may have been poisonous?
Reconstruction of the Sinornithosaurus skull
Practical info

Basic information:
Phylum - chordates (Chordata)
Class - reptiles (Reptilia)
Maximum length - 90 cm
Food - small vertebrates
Distribution - China, Liaoning province
Type of poison - unknown

Distinguishing marks:
A thin dinosaur, walking on its two hind legs. The second toe of the hind legs had a large sickle-shaped claw. Snout was long and narrow. Body was covered with feathers, colored black, yellow and orange.

Characteristics and poison

Sinornithosaurus was discovered in 1999 in the Chinese province of Liaoning. It was a small and agile predator, living during the lower Cretaceous (124-122 Mya). It was a close relative of the famous velociraptor. In 2009 a team of scientists published a hypothesis stating that this dinosaur may have used poison as part of its hunting arsenal. Its upper teeth are similar in appearance to those of some poisonous snakes; they have so-called 'poison grooves'. Additionally, a space was found in the upper jaw that could have held a poison sac. The Sinornithosaurus' poison could have paralyzed the prey, which would then have been easier for the predator to kill.