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* As said above, in many forms of dinosaur media you'll frequently see generic raptors living alongside ''TyrannosaurusRex'' and ''Triceratops''. These raptors are typically named after someone in the PowerTrio of the [[StockDinosaurs Stock Raptor]] family, ''Utahraptor'', ''Deinonychus'' or ''Velociraptor''. However, there is a small problem here: none of these raptors actually lived with ''T. rex'' or ''Triceratops''. ''Deinonychus'' and ''Utahraptor'' died out long before ''T. rex'' showed up, and ''Velociraptor'' lived at the same time, but on the other side of the planet (though it did live with a close relative of ''Tyrannosaurus'': ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeLargeTheropods Tarbosaurus]]''). For the longest time, this common stereotype was seen as inaccurate.... until 2013. ''Acheroraptor'' ("plunderer of Acheron") was a small raptor, similar to ''Velociraptor'' in appearance, size and likely ecological niche that lived in the Hell Creek Formation at the very end of the Cretaceous. It most likely hunted small game such as lizards, baby dinosaurs, and mammals, which meant that the idea of large dromaeosaurs living in North America at the very end of the Age of Dinosaurs was ''still'' not quite accurate.... until 2015. ''Dakotaraptor'' ([[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "plunderer of the Dakotas"]]) is one of the largest "raptor" dinosaurs known to science, with only ''Utahraptor'' as a possible rival for the title of absolute biggest. As such, it was easily the second-largest predator in North America at the end of the Cretaceous, only behind ''Tyrannosaurus'' itself. At 20 feet long and half a ton in weight, it probably hunted the same sized prey as the smaller tyrannosaur species did. ''Dakotaraptor'' presumably ate medium-sized dinosaurs like ornithomimids, pachycephalosaurs, basal ornithopods & ceratopsians, and young hadrosaurs, while leaving tougher prey like ceratopsids, sauropods, ankylosaurs, and full-grown hadrosaurs to ''T. rex''.

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* As said above, in In many forms of dinosaur media you'll frequently see generic raptors living alongside ''TyrannosaurusRex'' and ''Triceratops''. These raptors are typically named after someone in the PowerTrio of the [[StockDinosaurs Stock Raptor]] family, ''Utahraptor'', ''Deinonychus'' or ''Velociraptor''. However, there is a small problem here: none of these raptors actually lived with ''T. rex'' or ''Triceratops''. ''Deinonychus'' and ''Utahraptor'' died out long before ''T. rex'' showed up, and ''Velociraptor'' lived at the same time, but on the other side of the planet (though it did live with a close relative of ''Tyrannosaurus'': ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeLargeTheropods Tarbosaurus]]''). For the longest time, this common stereotype was seen as inaccurate.... until 2013. ''Acheroraptor'' ("plunderer of Acheron") was a small raptor, similar to ''Velociraptor'' in appearance, size and likely ecological niche that lived in the Hell Creek Formation at the very end of the Cretaceous. It most likely hunted small game such as lizards, baby dinosaurs, and mammals, which meant that the idea of large dromaeosaurs living in North America at the very end of the Age of Dinosaurs was ''still'' not quite accurate.... until 2015. ''Dakotaraptor'' ([[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "plunderer of the Dakotas"]]) is one of the largest "raptor" dinosaurs known to science, with only ''Utahraptor'' as a possible rival for the title of absolute biggest. As such, it was easily the second-largest predator in North America at the end of the Cretaceous, only behind ''Tyrannosaurus'' itself. At 20 feet long and half a ton in weight, it probably hunted the same sized prey as the smaller tyrannosaur species did. ''Dakotaraptor'' presumably ate medium-sized dinosaurs like ornithomimids, pachycephalosaurs, basal ornithopods & ceratopsians, and young hadrosaurs, while leaving tougher prey like ceratopsids, sauropods, ankylosaurs, and full-grown hadrosaurs to ''T. rex''.


The biggest dromaeosaurs (''Utahraptor'', ''Achillobator'', ''Dakotaraptor'') may have been able to take larger game then their smaller relatives; but likely they were more solitary then the smaller ''Velociraptor'' , ''Deinonychus'', and ''Dromaeosaurus''. But stop now.

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* ''Dromaeosaurus'', ''Velociraptor'', ''Deinonychus'', and ''Utahraptor'' together with some other genera such as ''Adasaurus'', ''Hulsanpes'', and ''Saurornitholestes'', used to make ''the'' dromaeosaurids before the ''Film/JurassicPark'' times and also few years later (middle 1990s). [[note]]''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adasaurus Adasaurus]]'' ("demon lizard") was found in 1983 in Mongolia, and was mentioned because of its bird-like pubis curving particularly backwards. ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itemirus Itemirus]]'' is known only from a braincase, and was originally put in its own family, Itemirids (today it's considered a proper dromaeosaurid). ''Paronychodon'' and ''Euronychodon'' are even less-known (the only remains being ''teeth''): they're more probably troodontids, but could not even be deinonychosaurs. The name ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornithodesmus Ornithodesmus]]'' was originally given to a [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeNonDinosaurianReptiles pterosaur]], but then passed to a fragmentary dromaeosaurid from Early Cretaceous England. About ''Saurornitholestes'', see in the "troodontid" folder below.[[/note]] We now know they actually ''[[ScienceMarchesOn do not match ]]'' [[SmallTaxonomyPools the great variety within their family]]. Especially since the beginning of the 2000s, many new dromaeosaur species have been discovered, most of them having received the suffix raptor. Examples are the North-American ''Bambiraptor'' (so called because its skeleton [[Disney/{{Bambi}} was from a juvenile]]); the European ''Pyroraptor'' ("pyro" = fire in Greek, because was found after a fire) and ''Variraptor'' (which was originally believed the same animal); the South American ''Buitreraptor'' ("buitre" = vulture in Spanish) and short-armed ''Austroraptor'' ("southern plunderer"); and the [[NamesTheSame similarly-named]] "Australoraptor"[[note]]Note that this name is in quotation marks since it's not, in any way, a published name[[/note]] from the very, very Down Under (the Snow Hill Island Formation of Antarctica). One exception is the aforementioned ''Achillobator'', which lived in Late Cretaceous Mongolia and, with its 6 m long body, was only slightly smaller than ''Utahraptor''. These were all ground-dwelling kinds with a running-plan like the traditionally-intended “raptors”. But other “new” dromaeosaurids have turned out to be smaller, more specialized animals often with some tree-climbing adaptations. Because of their apparently non-raptor-like nature, some of them were not even initially thought to be dromaeosaurs: this explains why they haven’t got the suffix –raptor. The tiny ''[[http://en.wikipedia/org/wiki/Rahonavis Rahonavis]]'' from Madagascar was initially thought to be some sort of ''bird'' (which it might actually be). Also initially believed a bird was ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unenlagia Unenlagia]]'', the first dromaeosaurid discovered in South America. [[note]]Better, the first one recognized as such: ''Unquillosaurus'' has been known since 1979 from a pelvis which, oddily, was initially believed from a huge carnosaur![[/note]] While ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesperonychus Hesperonychus]]'' (whose name, "western claw", is clearly inspired from "''Deinonychus''") was found only in 2009 and briefly considered the smallest North American dinosaur. An avian-looking dromaeosaur found in 2000 (in spite of being a climbing kind it ends in –raptor nonetheless), is now one of the most portrayed bird-like dinosaurs: obviously, we’re talking about ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Microraptor]]''. Also worth of note are the recently-found ''Changyuraptor'' (very similar to ''Microraptor'' but twice the length of it), and the short-legged ''Halszkaraptor'' from Mongolia, which some believe it was semi-aquatic like ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Spinosaurus]]''. ''Dromaeosauroides'' from Denmark is only known from teeth, but it's one of the earliest known dromaeosaurids so far, from Early Cretaceous.

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* ''Dromaeosaurus'', ''Velociraptor'', ''Deinonychus'', and ''Utahraptor'' together with some other genera such as ''Adasaurus'', ''Hulsanpes'', and ''Saurornitholestes'', used to make ''the'' dromaeosaurids before the ''Film/JurassicPark'' times and also few years later (middle 1990s). [[note]]''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adasaurus Adasaurus]]'' ("demon lizard") was found in 1983 in Mongolia, and was mentioned because of its bird-like pubis curving particularly backwards. ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itemirus Itemirus]]'' is known only from a braincase, and was originally put in its own family, Itemirids (today it's considered a proper dromaeosaurid). ''Paronychodon'' and ''Euronychodon'' are even less-known (the only remains being ''teeth''): they're more probably troodontids, but could not even be deinonychosaurs. The name ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornithodesmus Ornithodesmus]]'' was originally given to a [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeNonDinosaurianReptiles pterosaur]], but then passed to a fragmentary dromaeosaurid from Early Cretaceous England. About ''Saurornitholestes'', see in the "troodontid" folder below.[[/note]] We now know they actually ''[[ScienceMarchesOn do not match ]]'' [[SmallTaxonomyPools the great variety within their family]]. Especially since the beginning of the 2000s, many new dromaeosaur species have been discovered, most of them having received the suffix raptor. Examples are the North-American ''Bambiraptor'' (so called because its skeleton [[Disney/{{Bambi}} was from a juvenile]]); the European ''Pyroraptor'' ("pyro" = fire in Greek, because was found after a fire) and ''Variraptor'' (which was originally believed the same animal); the South American ''Buitreraptor'' ("buitre" = vulture in Spanish) and short-armed ''Austroraptor'' ("southern plunderer"); and the [[NamesTheSame similarly-named]] "Australoraptor"[[note]]Note that this name is in quotation marks since it's not, in any way, a published name[[/note]] from the very, very Down Under (the Snow Hill Island Formation of Antarctica). One exception is the aforementioned ''Achillobator'', which lived in Late Cretaceous Mongolia and, with its 6 m long body, was only slightly smaller than ''Utahraptor''. These were all ground-dwelling kinds with a running-plan like the traditionally-intended “raptors”. The biggest of them (''Utahraptor'', ''Achillobator'', ''Dakotaraptor'') may have been able to take larger game then their smaller relatives; but likely they were more solitary then the smaller ''Velociraptor'' , ''Deinonychus'', and ''Dromaeosaurus''. But other “new” dromaeosaurids have turned out to be smaller, more specialized animals often with some tree-climbing adaptations. Because of their apparently non-raptor-like nature, some of them were not even initially thought to be dromaeosaurs: this explains why they haven’t got the suffix –raptor. The tiny ''[[http://en.wikipedia/org/wiki/Rahonavis Rahonavis]]'' from Madagascar was initially thought to be some sort of ''bird'' (which it might actually be). Also initially believed a bird was ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unenlagia Unenlagia]]'', the first dromaeosaurid discovered in South America. [[note]]Better, the first one recognized as such: ''Unquillosaurus'' has been known since 1979 from a pelvis which, oddily, was initially believed from a huge carnosaur![[/note]] While ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesperonychus Hesperonychus]]'' (whose name, "western claw", is clearly inspired from "''Deinonychus''") was found only in 2009 and briefly considered the smallest North American dinosaur. An avian-looking dromaeosaur found in 2000 (in spite of being a climbing kind it ends in –raptor nonetheless), is now one of the most portrayed bird-like dinosaurs: obviously, we’re talking about ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Microraptor]]''. Also worth of note are the recently-found ''Changyuraptor'' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Changyuraptor Changyuraptor]]'' (very similar to ''Microraptor'' but twice the length of it), and the short-legged ''Halszkaraptor'' from Mongolia, which some believe it was semi-aquatic like ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Spinosaurus]]''. ''Dromaeosauroides'' from Denmark is only known from teeth, but it's one of the earliest known dromaeosaurids so far, from Early Cretaceous.


Among bird-like theropods, the most popular one have already been described in UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs. Frequent in documentary media have also been: the dromaeosaurid ''Dromaeosaurus''; the troodontid ''Saurornithoides''; the ornithomimid ''Dromiceiomimus''; and the oviraptorid ''Chirostenotes''. Other maniraptorans have been common sights as well thanks to their important contribute to the Feather Theory in one certain scientific period: ''Avimimus'' (the 1980s and early 1990s), ''Mononykus'' (early 1990s as well), ''Sinosauropteryx'' (late 1990s), ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Microraptor]]'' (the 2000s), ''Anchiornis'' (early 2010s), ''Yi qi'' (late 2010s). Finally, you've good chances to see four overgrown bird-like theropods whose anatomy and habits have been a mystery since their first discovery: ''Deinocheirus'', ''Segnosaurus'', ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Therizinosaurus]]'', and more recently, ''Gigantoraptor''.

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Among bird-like theropods, the most popular one have already been described in UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs. Frequent in documentary media have also been: the dromaeosaurid ''Dromaeosaurus''; ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Dromaeosaurus]]''; the troodontid ''Saurornithoides''; the ornithomimid ''Dromiceiomimus''; and the oviraptorid ''Chirostenotes''. Other maniraptorans have been common sights as well thanks to their important contribute to the Feather Theory in one certain scientific period: ''Avimimus'' (the 1980s and early 1990s), ''Mononykus'' (early 1990s as well), ''Sinosauropteryx'' (late 1990s), ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Microraptor]]'' (the 2000s), ''Anchiornis'' (early 2010s), ''Yi qi'' (late 2010s). Finally, you've good chances to see four overgrown bird-like theropods whose anatomy and habits have been a mystery since their first discovery: ''Deinocheirus'', ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Deinocheirus]]'', ''Segnosaurus'', ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Therizinosaurus]]'', and more recently, ''Gigantoraptor''.
''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Gigantoraptor]]''.



'''The first Raptor Attack:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dromaeosaurus Dromaeosaurus]]''

* How can we tell ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Deinonychus]]'' apart from ''[[Franchise/JurassicPark Velociraptor]]''? Other than their different size, this can be done by observing their skull. The ''Deinonychus'' head was relatively stocky, with a convex profile and the snout ending with a thin point; the ''Velociraptor'' head was narrower and more elongated, with a concave profile and a blunt snout. If you watch carefully the head of the Franchise/JurassicPark "raptors" (which has inspired the popular image of the dromaeosaurids), you'll note it's modeled upon the robust skull of ''Deinonychus''. This would demonstrate the latter ''is'' the actual animal people think when they think "Velociraptor". However, the JP ''Deinonychus''es have also exagerrately fleshy lips and too large eyes compared with the more realistic portraits of the ''Deinonychus'' in dino-books; these two modifications actually make their heads looking like a cross between a ''Deinonychus'' and a ''Velociraptor''. About the third stock dromaeosaurid, ''[[RuleOfThree Utahraptor]]'', this one ''cannot'' have been the inspirer of the JP critters (despite being the most similar to them if you count the overall size of the body), both because the ''Utahraptor'''s skull has never been found apart from the very end of the snout, and because this dinosaur was found ''slightly after'' the production of the first movie. However, we're going here to talk more about other members of the "raptor" family: ''Dromaeosaurus'' and the relatives found after the early 1990s (aka after the Jurassic Park's success). The very first discovered dromaeosaurid (1920s), ''Dromaeosaurus'' has an unexpectedly generic meaning: just “running lizard”. This is because its sickle claws were missing in its original skeleton, and scientists believed it was a small tyrannosaur or a more generic small theropod. The image of a [[HookHand hook-footed]] dinosaur came to light only after the description of ''Deinonychus'' in the sixties, and the family Dromaeosauridae itself was created around the same time to include ''Deinonychus'', ''Dromaeosaurus'', and ''Velociraptor'' together. The dromaeosaurids' sickle-shaped pedal claws were very specialized tools (they have also been compared with the saber-toothed cats' fangs). They were on the second toe of each foot, which was very shortened and strong compared with the other two main toes. When walking and running dromaeosaurids kept their 2nd toe raised up to the ground level, so the whole weight of their body was substained by only two digits of each hindlimb. The sickle-toes were moved by powerful muscles and tendons; scientists think "raptors" were able to lower them when used as weapons, just like cats do with their retractable claws.[[note]] According to a recent hypothesis, the dromaeosaurs' used their sickle-claws like their relatives, [[NobleBirdOfPrey the eagles]], do with smaller prey; pinning prey down and [[NightmareFuel eating them alive]], letting the hapless prey item die from shock and blood loss.[[/note]] ''Dromaeosaurus'' was the same size of real-life ''Velociraptor'' but with a shorter head without the concave profile, and stronger jaws and teeth; compared with ''Deinonychus'', ''Dromaeosaurus'' head was smaller but with a wider snout (good comparisons with ''Utahraptor'' cannot be made because of the incompleteness of the latter's skull). In spite of being less-frequently portrayed than the PowerTrio made up of ''Utahraptor'', ''Velociraptor'', and ''Deinonychus'', ''Dromaeosaurus'' appears regularly in dino-books and has also made some apparitions in TV documentaries. If you see a dromaeosaurid interacting with ''TyrannosaurusRex'' or ''Triceratops'' in Late Cretaceous North America, it would be ''Dromaeosaurus'' [[note]]To be correct, however, ''Dromaeosaurus'' lived some million years before the end of the Cretaceous in which ''T. rex'' and ''Triceratops'' lived, but a dromaeosaurid that actually lived alongside ''T. rex'' and ''Triceratops'' was named in 2013: ''Acheroraptor'' (see further).[[/note]] -- unless the writers didn't know or just didn't care: some docus have shown ''Deinonychus'' or ''Velociraptor'' or even ''Utahraptor'' in this role. ''Series/WalkingWithDinosaurs'' dealed with the problem in a bizarre way: here, the dromaeosaurids are officially ''Dromaeosaurus''… but ''have the shape of Deinonychus''. Actually, every dromaeosaurid in the original Walking With series was a ''Deinonychus'', ''Utahraptor'' included [[note]]which, even though their name clearly means “Utah thief”, were portrayed [[MisplacedWildlife living in Europe for some reason[[/note]]. And to make the ''"Utahraptors"'' and the ''"Dromaeosauruses"'' distinguishable, they show up simply with a different coloration: brownish the former, blackish the latter. In this show, ''"Utahraptor"''s are also portrayed in the way dromaeosaurids were once represented in paleo-art: naked-skinned, [[PantheraAwesome colored like big cats]], chasing an iguanodont [[ZergRush in packs]], jumping on it using their sickle-claws as spurs, and eventually killing it with (a quite exaggerated) ease. Many dino-books have made this thing UpToEleven with ''Dromaeosaurus'', depicting scenes in which these turkey-sized predators chase and kill in packs adult ''Edmontosaurus'' and ''Triceratops'' 500 times heavier! [[ScienceMarchesOn Current paleontology]] suggests that ''Dromaeosaurus'' and the other “raptors” hunted smaller (but still large) prey and only ate the carcasses of the giant herbivores. The biggest dromaeosaurs (''Utahraptor'', ''Achillobator'', ''Dakotaraptor'') may have been able to take larger game then their smaller relatives; but likely they were more solitary then the smaller ''Velociraptor'' , ''Deinonychus'', and ''Dromaeosaurus''. But stop now.

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'''The first Raptor Attack:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dromaeosaurus Dromaeosaurus]]''

* How can we tell ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Deinonychus]]'' apart from ''[[Franchise/JurassicPark Velociraptor]]''? Other than their different size, this can be done by observing their skull. The ''Deinonychus'' head was relatively stocky, with a convex profile and the snout ending with a thin point; the ''Velociraptor'' head was narrower and more elongated, with a concave profile and a blunt snout. If you watch carefully the head of the Franchise/JurassicPark "raptors" (which has inspired the popular image of the dromaeosaurids), you'll note it's modeled upon the robust skull of ''Deinonychus''. This would demonstrate the latter ''is'' the actual animal people think when they think "Velociraptor". However, the JP ''Deinonychus''es have also exagerrately fleshy lips and too large eyes compared with the more realistic portraits of the ''Deinonychus'' in dino-books; these two modifications actually make their heads looking like a cross between a ''Deinonychus'' and a ''Velociraptor''. About the third stock dromaeosaurid, ''[[RuleOfThree Utahraptor]]'', this one ''cannot'' have been the inspirer of the JP critters (despite being the most similar to them if you count the overall size of the body), both because the ''Utahraptor'''s skull has never been found apart from the very end of the snout, and because this dinosaur was found ''slightly after'' the production of the first movie. However, we're going here to talk more about other members of the "raptor" family: ''Dromaeosaurus'' and the relatives found after the early 1990s (aka after the Jurassic Park's success). The very first discovered dromaeosaurid (1920s), ''Dromaeosaurus'' has an unexpectedly generic meaning: just “running lizard”. This is because its sickle claws were missing in its original skeleton, and scientists believed it was a small tyrannosaur or a more generic small theropod. The image of a [[HookHand hook-footed]] dinosaur came to light only after the description of ''Deinonychus'' in the sixties, and the family Dromaeosauridae itself was created around the same time to include ''Deinonychus'', ''Dromaeosaurus'', and ''Velociraptor'' together. The dromaeosaurids' sickle-shaped pedal claws were very specialized tools (they have also been compared with the saber-toothed cats' fangs). They were on the second toe of each foot, which was very shortened and strong compared with the other two main toes. When walking and running dromaeosaurids kept their 2nd toe raised up to the ground level, so the whole weight of their body was substained by only two digits of each hindlimb. The sickle-toes were moved by powerful muscles and tendons; scientists think "raptors" were able to lower them when used as weapons, just like cats do with their retractable claws.[[note]] According to a recent hypothesis, the dromaeosaurs' used their sickle-claws like their relatives, [[NobleBirdOfPrey the eagles]], do with smaller prey; pinning prey down and [[NightmareFuel eating them alive]], letting the hapless prey item die from shock and blood loss.[[/note]] ''Dromaeosaurus'' was the same size of real-life ''Velociraptor'' but with a shorter head without the concave profile, and stronger jaws and teeth; compared with ''Deinonychus'', ''Dromaeosaurus'' head was smaller but with a wider snout (good comparisons with ''Utahraptor'' cannot be made because of the incompleteness of the latter's skull). In spite of being less-frequently portrayed than the PowerTrio made up of ''Utahraptor'', ''Velociraptor'', and ''Deinonychus'', ''Dromaeosaurus'' appears regularly in dino-books and has also made some apparitions in TV documentaries. If you see a dromaeosaurid interacting with ''TyrannosaurusRex'' or ''Triceratops'' in Late Cretaceous North America, it would be ''Dromaeosaurus'' [[note]]To be correct, however, ''Dromaeosaurus'' lived some million years before the end of the Cretaceous in which ''T. rex'' and ''Triceratops'' lived, but a dromaeosaurid that actually lived alongside ''T. rex'' and ''Triceratops'' was named in 2013: ''Acheroraptor'' (see further).[[/note]] -- unless the writers didn't know or just didn't care: some docus have shown ''Deinonychus'' or ''Velociraptor'' or even ''Utahraptor'' in this role. ''Series/WalkingWithDinosaurs'' dealed with the problem in a bizarre way: here, the dromaeosaurids are officially ''Dromaeosaurus''… but ''have the shape of Deinonychus''. Actually, every dromaeosaurid in the original Walking With series was a ''Deinonychus'', ''Utahraptor'' included [[note]]which, even though their name clearly means “Utah thief”, were portrayed [[MisplacedWildlife living in Europe for some reason[[/note]]. And to make the ''"Utahraptors"'' and the ''"Dromaeosauruses"'' distinguishable, they show up simply with a different coloration: brownish the former, blackish the latter. In this show, ''"Utahraptor"''s are also portrayed in the way dromaeosaurids were once represented in paleo-art: naked-skinned, [[PantheraAwesome colored like big cats]], chasing an iguanodont [[ZergRush in packs]], jumping on it using their sickle-claws as spurs, and eventually killing it with (a quite exaggerated) ease. Many dino-books have made this thing UpToEleven with ''Dromaeosaurus'', depicting scenes in which these turkey-sized predators chase and kill in packs adult ''Edmontosaurus'' and ''Triceratops'' 500 times heavier! [[ScienceMarchesOn Current paleontology]] suggests that ''Dromaeosaurus'' and the other “raptors” hunted smaller (but still large) prey and only ate the carcasses of the giant herbivores.
The biggest dromaeosaurs (''Utahraptor'', ''Achillobator'', ''Dakotaraptor'') may have been able to take larger game then their smaller relatives; but likely they were more solitary then the smaller ''Velociraptor'' , ''Deinonychus'', and ''Dromaeosaurus''. But stop now.


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'''One-fingered hands:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mononykus Mononykus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvarezsaurus Alvarezsaurus]]'' & ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuvuuia Shuvuuia]]''

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'''One-fingered hands:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mononykus Mononykus]]'', org/wiki/Alvarezsaurus Alvarezsaurus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvarezsaurus Alvarezsaurus]]'' org/wiki/Mononykus Mononykus]]'' & ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuvuuia Shuvuuia]]''


* Still another, just as extraordinary Liaoning discovery has come in 2009 from Jurassic rocks: ''Anchiornis huxleyi'' (literally “Huxley's near bird”). This pigeon-sized troodontid or similar form has often been referenced as the smallest non-avian dinosaur known, but this record is actually contended by other theropods, for example another Liaoning troodontid found in 2013, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eosinopteryx Eosinopteryx]]'' -- which is interesting also because it uniquely has not any sickle-claw in its foot. Recently, these two animals are put in their own family, Anchiornithidae, together with ''Pedopenna'' and some other animals mentioned in UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds. The great interest surrounding ''Anchiornis'' is due to another detail: it has, amazingly, preserved not only its whole plumage, but ''even the original colors''. Since colors have almost never preserved in vertebrate fossil record, it’s easy to understand the extraordinariness of such a discovery. Even the aforementioned ''Sinosauropteryx'' and ''Caudipteryx'' have left some traces of color, as did probably other feathered dinosaur fossils, such as the basal bird ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds Confuciusornis]]'' and the aforementioned dromaeosaurid ''Sinornithosaurus''. Still, ''Anchiornis'' remains the most well-preserved, and it is almost the only non-avian dinosaur whose precise appearance is known with a reasonable degree of sureness. ''However'', since fossilization processes often change the original patterns of live animals, the ''true'' colors of ''Anchiornis'', ''Sinornithosaurus'', and so on could possibly have faded or even changed a fair bit in 160 million years. We may never know how close our restorations are.

to:

* Still another, just as extraordinary Liaoning discovery has come in 2009 from Jurassic rocks: ''Anchiornis huxleyi'' (literally “Huxley's near bird”). This pigeon-sized troodontid or similar form has often been referenced as the smallest non-avian dinosaur known, but this record is actually contended by other theropods, for example another Liaoning troodontid found in 2013, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eosinopteryx Eosinopteryx]]'' Eosinopteryx brevipenna]]'' (''brevipenna'' = short feather) -- which is interesting also because it uniquely has not any sickle-claw in its foot. Recently, these two animals are put in their own family, Anchiornithidae, together with ''Pedopenna'' and some other animals mentioned in UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds. The great interest surrounding ''Anchiornis'' is due to another detail: it has, amazingly, preserved not only its whole plumage, but ''even the original colors''. Since colors have almost never preserved in vertebrate fossil record, it’s easy to understand the extraordinariness of such a discovery. Even the aforementioned ''Sinosauropteryx'' and ''Caudipteryx'' have left some traces of color, as did probably other feathered dinosaur fossils, such as the basal bird ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds Confuciusornis]]'' and the aforementioned dromaeosaurid ''Sinornithosaurus''. Still, ''Anchiornis'' remains the most well-preserved, and it is almost the only non-avian dinosaur whose precise appearance is known with a reasonable degree of sureness. ''However'', since fossilization processes often change the original patterns of live animals, the ''true'' colors of ''Anchiornis'', ''Sinornithosaurus'', and so on could possibly have faded or even changed a fair bit in 160 million years. We may never know how close our restorations are.


* The first unequivocal [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_dinosaur non-avian dinosaur fossils with actual feathers preserved]] came to light in the second half of the 1990s in Liaoning (province of China). They were extraordinarily well-preserved, better than almost any other known dinosaur fossil; they were all small-sized (the biggest was only 8 ft long); they hailed from the Early Cretaceous (unlike the Late Cretaceous ''Avimimus'', ''Mononykus'', and ''Shuvuuia''), and sometimes from Late Jurassic; and they represented almost all of the main coelurosaur subgroups, giving a sort of snapshot of the coelurosaurian fauna of the time. More than 30 genera have been described so far, and others could still join them in the future: we’ll mention only some examples here. ''Sinosauropteryx prima'' (appropriately “first feathered lizard from China”) was the first to be discovered (1996); a [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods compsognathid]], it was the very first non-avian dinosaur to have shown prints of feathers; being it was a non-maniraptoran coelurosaur, these were still down-like, unlike modern feathers. The very first Liaoning coelurosaurs, discovered with vaned feathers in 1997 and 1998, were much closer to birds: these were ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (“First ''Archaeopteryx''”) and ''Caudipteryx'' (“feathered tail”). Both were basal oviraptorosaurs somewhat similar to ''Avimimus'', but only 2-3 ft long and with teeth; they had pennaceous feathers on their forearms and their tail feathers were homologous to those of the famous ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Archaeopteryx]]'' (not casually, these three dinosaurs have been named with the suffix -pteryx). However, the wing-feathers of ''Caudipteryx'' and ''Protarchaeopteryx'' were short and symmetrical, unlike those of true birds, and thus totally unsuitable for flight. Soon after, the list of feathered dinosaur fossils increased dramatically each year. The herbivorous ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beipiaosaurus Beipiaosaurus inexpectus]]'' (''inexpectus'' = unexpected) is perhaps the most specialized among them, being a small therizinosaur (8 ft long) with a down-like covering and some thin feathers on its forearm. In 2004, ''even a feathered tyrannosauroid'' was discovered: ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods Dilong]]'', a slender coelurosaur with little external resemblance to a ''T. rex'', preserving some down-like feathers. Other Liaoning coelurosaurs showed up in the third episode "Dino-Birds" of the miniseries ''Series/PrehistoricPark''. The chosen ones were: the buck-toothed oviraptorosaur ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incisivosaurus Incisivosaurus]]'' ("incisor lizard") because of its [[RuleOfFunny funny look]], the troodontid ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mei_(dinosaur) Mei]]'' ("the sleeping one" in Chinese), [[note]] This one has until 2015 detained the record of “the shortest-named dino” along with the alvarezsaurid ''Kol'' and the sauropod ''Zby'' - the former record-holders were the Australian ankylosaur ''Minmi'' and the oviraptorosaur ''Khaan'', the current one is the scansoriopterygid ''Yi'' (see below) [[/note]] and, naturally, the ever-present ''Microraptor''.[[note]] Note, however, that fossils of ''Incisivosaurus'' and ''Mei'' have not yet been found preserving soft tissues, unlike the other dinosaurs listed here. Nonetheless, being maniraptors, they almost certainly had feathers. Also, ''Microraptor'' is known from a younger formation than the other dinosaurs mentioned here. Finally, some think that ''Incisivosaurus'' (known only from a skull) may be the same as ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (known from a skeleton with a badly damaged skull).[[/note]] In “Dino-Birds”, Nigel Marven makes a TimeTravel to the Cretaceous China to save some ''Microraptor''s from extinction; before ending the mission, he encounters several ''Mei'' (referred to by their whole scientific name: ''Mei long'', lit. "sleeping dragon") apparently sleeping in the same bird-like position in which the type specimen was found fossilized (they were actually dead), while the other ''Mei long'' act as the “danger of the forest”, and to fit their fearsome better role, are [[RuleOfCool oversized]] [[ArtisticLicensePaleontology and lack feathers]].

to:

* The first unequivocal [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_dinosaur non-avian dinosaur fossils with actual feathers preserved]] came to light in the second half of the 1990s in Liaoning (province of China). They were extraordinarily well-preserved, better than almost any other known dinosaur fossil; they were all small-sized (the biggest was only 8 ft long); they hailed from the Early Cretaceous (unlike the Late Cretaceous ''Avimimus'', ''Mononykus'', and ''Shuvuuia''), and sometimes from Late Jurassic; and they represented almost all of the main coelurosaur subgroups, giving a sort of snapshot of the coelurosaurian fauna of the time. More than 30 genera have been described so far, and others could still join them in the future: we’ll mention only some examples here. ''Sinosauropteryx prima'' (appropriately “first feathered lizard from China”) was the first to be discovered (1996); a [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods compsognathid]], it was the very first non-avian dinosaur to have shown prints of feathers; being it was a non-maniraptoran coelurosaur, these were still down-like, unlike modern feathers. The very first Liaoning coelurosaurs, discovered with vaned feathers in 1997 and 1998, were much closer to birds: these were ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (“First ''Archaeopteryx''”) and ''Caudipteryx'' (“feathered tail”). Both were basal oviraptorosaurs somewhat similar to ''Avimimus'', but only 2-3 ft long and with teeth; they had pennaceous feathers on their forearms and their tail feathers were homologous to those of the famous ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Archaeopteryx]]'' (not casually, these three dinosaurs have been named with the suffix -pteryx). However, the wing-feathers of ''Caudipteryx'' and ''Protarchaeopteryx'' were short and symmetrical, unlike those of true birds, and thus totally unsuitable for flight. Soon after, the list of feathered dinosaur fossils increased dramatically each year. The herbivorous ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beipiaosaurus Beipiaosaurus inexpectus]]'' (''inexpectus'' = unexpected) is perhaps the most specialized among them, being a small therizinosaur (8 ft long) with a down-like covering and some thin feathers on its forearm. In 2004, ''even a feathered tyrannosauroid'' was discovered: ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods Dilong]]'', Dilong paradoxus]]'', a slender coelurosaur with little external resemblance to a ''T. rex'', preserving some down-like feathers. Other Liaoning coelurosaurs showed up in the third episode "Dino-Birds" of the miniseries ''Series/PrehistoricPark''. The chosen ones were: the buck-toothed oviraptorosaur ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incisivosaurus Incisivosaurus]]'' ("incisor lizard") because of its [[RuleOfFunny funny look]], the troodontid ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mei_(dinosaur) Mei]]'' ("the sleeping one" in Chinese), [[note]] This one has until 2015 detained the record of “the shortest-named dino” along with the alvarezsaurid ''Kol'' and the sauropod ''Zby'' - the former record-holders were the Australian ankylosaur ''Minmi'' and the oviraptorosaur ''Khaan'', the current one is the scansoriopterygid ''Yi'' (see below) [[/note]] and, naturally, the ever-present ''Microraptor''.[[note]] Note, however, that fossils of ''Incisivosaurus'' and ''Mei'' have not yet been found preserving soft tissues, unlike the other dinosaurs listed here. Nonetheless, being maniraptors, they almost certainly had feathers. Also, ''Microraptor'' is known from a younger formation than the other dinosaurs mentioned here. Finally, some think that ''Incisivosaurus'' (known only from a skull) may be the same as ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (known from a skeleton with a badly damaged skull).[[/note]] In “Dino-Birds”, Nigel Marven makes a TimeTravel to the Cretaceous China to save some ''Microraptor''s from extinction; before ending the mission, he encounters several ''Mei'' (referred to by their whole scientific name: ''Mei long'', lit. "sleeping dragon") apparently sleeping in the same bird-like position in which the type specimen was found fossilized (they were actually dead), while the other ''Mei long'' act as the “danger of the forest”, and to fit their fearsome better role, are [[RuleOfCool oversized]] [[ArtisticLicensePaleontology and lack feathers]].


* The first unequivocal [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_dinosaur non-avian dinosaur fossils with actual feathers preserved]] came to light in the second half of the 1990s in Liaoning (province of China). They were extraordinarily well-preserved, better than almost any other known dinosaur fossil; they were all small-sized (the biggest was only 8 ft long); they hailed from the Early Cretaceous (unlike the Late Cretaceous ''Avimimus'', ''Mononykus'', and ''Shuvuuia''), and sometimes from Late Jurassic; and they represented almost all of the main coelurosaur subgroups, giving a sort of snapshot of the coelurosaurian fauna of the time. More than 30 genera have been described so far, and others could still join them in the future: we’ll mention only some examples here. ''Sinosauropteryx'' (“Chinese feathered lizard”) was the first to be discovered (1996); a [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods compsognathid]], it was the very first non-avian dinosaur to have shown prints of feathers; being it was a non-maniraptoran coelurosaur, these were still down-like, unlike modern feathers. The very first Liaoning coelurosaurs, discovered with vaned feathers in 1997 and 1998, were much closer to birds: these were ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (“First ''Archaeopteryx''”) and ''Caudipteryx'' (“feathered tail”). Both were basal oviraptorosaurs somewhat similar to ''Avimimus'', but only 2-3 ft long and with teeth; they had pennaceous feathers on their forearms and their tail feathers were homologous to those of the famous ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Archaeopteryx]]'' (not casually, these three dinosaurs have been named with the suffix -pteryx). However, the wing-feathers of ''Caudipteryx'' and ''Protarchaeopteryx'' were short and symmetrical, unlike those of true birds, and thus totally unsuitable for flight. Soon after, the list of feathered dinosaur fossils increased dramatically each year. The herbivorous ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beipiaosaurus Beipiaosaurus inexpectus]]'' (''inexpectus'' = unexpected) is perhaps the most specialized among them, being a small therizinosaur (8 ft long) with a down-like covering and some thin feathers on its forearm. In 2004, ''even a feathered tyrannosauroid'' was discovered: ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods Dilong]]'', a slender coelurosaur with little external resemblance to a ''T. rex'', preserving some down-like feathers. Other Liaoning coelurosaurs showed up in the third episode "Dino-Birds" of the miniseries ''Series/PrehistoricPark''. The chosen ones were: the buck-toothed oviraptorosaur ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incisivosaurus Incisivosaurus]]'' ("incisor lizard") because of its [[RuleOfFunny funny look]], the troodontid ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mei_(dinosaur) Mei]]'' ("the sleeping one" in Chinese), [[note]] This one has until 2015 detained the record of “the shortest-named dino” along with the alvarezsaurid ''Kol'' and the sauropod ''Zby'' - the former record-holders were the Australian ankylosaur ''Minmi'' and the oviraptorosaur ''Khaan'', the current one is the scansoriopterygid ''Yi'' (see below) [[/note]] and, naturally, the ever-present ''Microraptor''.[[note]] Note, however, that fossils of ''Incisivosaurus'' and ''Mei'' have not yet been found preserving soft tissues, unlike the other dinosaurs listed here. Nonetheless, being maniraptors, they almost certainly had feathers. Also, ''Microraptor'' is known from a younger formation than the other dinosaurs mentioned here. Finally, some think that ''Incisivosaurus'' (known only from a skull) may be the same as ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (known from a skeleton with a badly damaged skull).[[/note]] In “Dino-Birds”, Nigel Marven makes a TimeTravel to the Cretaceous China to save some ''Microraptor''s from extinction; before ending the mission, he encounters several ''Mei'' (referred to by their whole scientific name: ''Mei long'', lit. "sleeping dragon") apparently sleeping in the same bird-like position in which the type specimen was found fossilized (they were actually dead), while the other ''Mei long'' act as the “danger of the forest”, and to fit their fearsome better role, are [[RuleOfCool oversized]] [[ArtisticLicensePaleontology and lack feathers]].

to:

* The first unequivocal [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_dinosaur non-avian dinosaur fossils with actual feathers preserved]] came to light in the second half of the 1990s in Liaoning (province of China). They were extraordinarily well-preserved, better than almost any other known dinosaur fossil; they were all small-sized (the biggest was only 8 ft long); they hailed from the Early Cretaceous (unlike the Late Cretaceous ''Avimimus'', ''Mononykus'', and ''Shuvuuia''), and sometimes from Late Jurassic; and they represented almost all of the main coelurosaur subgroups, giving a sort of snapshot of the coelurosaurian fauna of the time. More than 30 genera have been described so far, and others could still join them in the future: we’ll mention only some examples here. ''Sinosauropteryx'' (“Chinese ''Sinosauropteryx prima'' (appropriately “first feathered lizard”) lizard from China”) was the first to be discovered (1996); a [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods compsognathid]], it was the very first non-avian dinosaur to have shown prints of feathers; being it was a non-maniraptoran coelurosaur, these were still down-like, unlike modern feathers. The very first Liaoning coelurosaurs, discovered with vaned feathers in 1997 and 1998, were much closer to birds: these were ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (“First ''Archaeopteryx''”) and ''Caudipteryx'' (“feathered tail”). Both were basal oviraptorosaurs somewhat similar to ''Avimimus'', but only 2-3 ft long and with teeth; they had pennaceous feathers on their forearms and their tail feathers were homologous to those of the famous ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Archaeopteryx]]'' (not casually, these three dinosaurs have been named with the suffix -pteryx). However, the wing-feathers of ''Caudipteryx'' and ''Protarchaeopteryx'' were short and symmetrical, unlike those of true birds, and thus totally unsuitable for flight. Soon after, the list of feathered dinosaur fossils increased dramatically each year. The herbivorous ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beipiaosaurus Beipiaosaurus inexpectus]]'' (''inexpectus'' = unexpected) is perhaps the most specialized among them, being a small therizinosaur (8 ft long) with a down-like covering and some thin feathers on its forearm. In 2004, ''even a feathered tyrannosauroid'' was discovered: ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods Dilong]]'', a slender coelurosaur with little external resemblance to a ''T. rex'', preserving some down-like feathers. Other Liaoning coelurosaurs showed up in the third episode "Dino-Birds" of the miniseries ''Series/PrehistoricPark''. The chosen ones were: the buck-toothed oviraptorosaur ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incisivosaurus Incisivosaurus]]'' ("incisor lizard") because of its [[RuleOfFunny funny look]], the troodontid ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mei_(dinosaur) Mei]]'' ("the sleeping one" in Chinese), [[note]] This one has until 2015 detained the record of “the shortest-named dino” along with the alvarezsaurid ''Kol'' and the sauropod ''Zby'' - the former record-holders were the Australian ankylosaur ''Minmi'' and the oviraptorosaur ''Khaan'', the current one is the scansoriopterygid ''Yi'' (see below) [[/note]] and, naturally, the ever-present ''Microraptor''.[[note]] Note, however, that fossils of ''Incisivosaurus'' and ''Mei'' have not yet been found preserving soft tissues, unlike the other dinosaurs listed here. Nonetheless, being maniraptors, they almost certainly had feathers. Also, ''Microraptor'' is known from a younger formation than the other dinosaurs mentioned here. Finally, some think that ''Incisivosaurus'' (known only from a skull) may be the same as ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (known from a skeleton with a badly damaged skull).[[/note]] In “Dino-Birds”, Nigel Marven makes a TimeTravel to the Cretaceous China to save some ''Microraptor''s from extinction; before ending the mission, he encounters several ''Mei'' (referred to by their whole scientific name: ''Mei long'', lit. "sleeping dragon") apparently sleeping in the same bird-like position in which the type specimen was found fossilized (they were actually dead), while the other ''Mei long'' act as the “danger of the forest”, and to fit their fearsome better role, are [[RuleOfCool oversized]] [[ArtisticLicensePaleontology and lack feathers]].


* The first unequivocal [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_dinosaur non-avian dinosaur fossils with actual feathers preserved]] came to light in the second half of the 1990s in Liaoning (province of China). They were extraordinarily well-preserved, better than almost any other known dinosaur fossil; they were all small-sized (the biggest was only 8 ft long); they hailed from the Early Cretaceous (unlike the Late Cretaceous ''Avimimus'', ''Mononykus'', and ''Shuvuuia''), and sometimes from Late Jurassic; and they represented almost all of the main coelurosaur subgroups, giving a sort of snapshot of the coelurosaurian fauna of the time. More than 30 genera have been described so far, and others could still join them in the future: we’ll mention only some examples here. ''Sinosauropteryx'' (“Chinese feathered lizard”) was the first to be discovered (1996); a [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods compsognathid]], it was the very first non-avian dinosaur to have shown prints of feathers; being it was a non-maniraptoran coelurosaur, these were still down-like, unlike modern feathers. The very first Liaoning coelurosaurs, discovered with vaned feathers in 1997 and 1998, were much closer to birds: these were ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (“First ''Archaeopteryx''”) and ''Caudipteryx'' (“feathered tail”). Both were basal oviraptorosaurs somewhat similar to ''Avimimus'', but only 2-3 ft long and with teeth; they had pennaceous feathers on their forearms and their tail feathers were homologous to those of the famous ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Archaeopteryx]]'' (not casually, these three dinosaurs have been named with the suffix -pteryx). However, the wing-feathers of ''Caudipteryx'' and ''Protarchaeopteryx'' were short and symmetrical, unlike those of true birds, and thus totally unsuitable for flight. Soon after, the list of feathered dinosaur fossils increased dramatically each year. The herbivorous ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beipiaosaurus Beipiaosaurus]]'' is perhaps the most specialized among them, being a small therizinosaur (8 ft long) with a down-like covering and some thin feathers on its forearm. In 2004, ''even a feathered tyrannosauroid'' was discovered: ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods Dilong]]'', a slender coelurosaur with little external resemblance to a ''T. rex'', preserving some down-like feathers. Other Liaoning coelurosaurs showed up in the third episode "Dino-Birds" of the miniseries ''Series/PrehistoricPark''. The chosen ones were: the buck-toothed oviraptorosaur ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incisivosaurus Incisivosaurus]]'' ("incisor lizard") because of its [[RuleOfFunny funny look]], the troodontid ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mei_(dinosaur) Mei]]'' ("the sleeping one" in Chinese), [[note]] This one has until 2015 detained the record of “the shortest-named dino” along with the alvarezsaurid ''Kol'' and the sauropod ''Zby'' - the former record-holders were the Australian ankylosaur ''Minmi'' and the oviraptorosaur ''Khaan'', the current one is the scansoriopterygid ''Yi'' (see below) [[/note]] and, naturally, the ever-present ''Microraptor''.[[note]] Note, however, that fossils of ''Incisivosaurus'' and ''Mei'' have not yet been found preserving soft tissues, unlike the other dinosaurs listed here. Nonetheless, being maniraptors, they almost certainly had feathers. Also, ''Microraptor'' is known from a younger formation than the other dinosaurs mentioned here. Finally, some think that ''Incisivosaurus'' (known only from a skull) may be the same as ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (known from a skeleton with a badly damaged skull).[[/note]] In “Dino-Birds”, Nigel Marven makes a TimeTravel to the Cretaceous China to save some ''Microraptor''s from extinction; before ending the mission, he encounters several ''Mei'' (referred to by their whole scientific name: ''Mei long'', lit. "sleeping dragon") apparently sleeping in the same bird-like position in which the type specimen was found fossilized (they were actually dead), while the other ''Mei long'' act as the “danger of the forest”, and to fit their fearsome better role, are [[RuleOfCool oversized]] [[ArtisticLicensePaleontology and lack feathers]].

to:

* The first unequivocal [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_dinosaur non-avian dinosaur fossils with actual feathers preserved]] came to light in the second half of the 1990s in Liaoning (province of China). They were extraordinarily well-preserved, better than almost any other known dinosaur fossil; they were all small-sized (the biggest was only 8 ft long); they hailed from the Early Cretaceous (unlike the Late Cretaceous ''Avimimus'', ''Mononykus'', and ''Shuvuuia''), and sometimes from Late Jurassic; and they represented almost all of the main coelurosaur subgroups, giving a sort of snapshot of the coelurosaurian fauna of the time. More than 30 genera have been described so far, and others could still join them in the future: we’ll mention only some examples here. ''Sinosauropteryx'' (“Chinese feathered lizard”) was the first to be discovered (1996); a [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods compsognathid]], it was the very first non-avian dinosaur to have shown prints of feathers; being it was a non-maniraptoran coelurosaur, these were still down-like, unlike modern feathers. The very first Liaoning coelurosaurs, discovered with vaned feathers in 1997 and 1998, were much closer to birds: these were ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (“First ''Archaeopteryx''”) and ''Caudipteryx'' (“feathered tail”). Both were basal oviraptorosaurs somewhat similar to ''Avimimus'', but only 2-3 ft long and with teeth; they had pennaceous feathers on their forearms and their tail feathers were homologous to those of the famous ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Archaeopteryx]]'' (not casually, these three dinosaurs have been named with the suffix -pteryx). However, the wing-feathers of ''Caudipteryx'' and ''Protarchaeopteryx'' were short and symmetrical, unlike those of true birds, and thus totally unsuitable for flight. Soon after, the list of feathered dinosaur fossils increased dramatically each year. The herbivorous ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beipiaosaurus Beipiaosaurus]]'' Beipiaosaurus inexpectus]]'' (''inexpectus'' = unexpected) is perhaps the most specialized among them, being a small therizinosaur (8 ft long) with a down-like covering and some thin feathers on its forearm. In 2004, ''even a feathered tyrannosauroid'' was discovered: ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods Dilong]]'', a slender coelurosaur with little external resemblance to a ''T. rex'', preserving some down-like feathers. Other Liaoning coelurosaurs showed up in the third episode "Dino-Birds" of the miniseries ''Series/PrehistoricPark''. The chosen ones were: the buck-toothed oviraptorosaur ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incisivosaurus Incisivosaurus]]'' ("incisor lizard") because of its [[RuleOfFunny funny look]], the troodontid ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mei_(dinosaur) Mei]]'' ("the sleeping one" in Chinese), [[note]] This one has until 2015 detained the record of “the shortest-named dino” along with the alvarezsaurid ''Kol'' and the sauropod ''Zby'' - the former record-holders were the Australian ankylosaur ''Minmi'' and the oviraptorosaur ''Khaan'', the current one is the scansoriopterygid ''Yi'' (see below) [[/note]] and, naturally, the ever-present ''Microraptor''.[[note]] Note, however, that fossils of ''Incisivosaurus'' and ''Mei'' have not yet been found preserving soft tissues, unlike the other dinosaurs listed here. Nonetheless, being maniraptors, they almost certainly had feathers. Also, ''Microraptor'' is known from a younger formation than the other dinosaurs mentioned here. Finally, some think that ''Incisivosaurus'' (known only from a skull) may be the same as ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (known from a skeleton with a badly damaged skull).[[/note]] In “Dino-Birds”, Nigel Marven makes a TimeTravel to the Cretaceous China to save some ''Microraptor''s from extinction; before ending the mission, he encounters several ''Mei'' (referred to by their whole scientific name: ''Mei long'', lit. "sleeping dragon") apparently sleeping in the same bird-like position in which the type specimen was found fossilized (they were actually dead), while the other ''Mei long'' act as the “danger of the forest”, and to fit their fearsome better role, are [[RuleOfCool oversized]] [[ArtisticLicensePaleontology and lack feathers]].


* Most dinosaurs would appear as a bunch of MixAndMatchCritters if alive today, with traits resembling those of mammals, bird, and crocodiles. But the MixAndMatchCritter trope can also be applied in a more subtle way. Some relatively unknown dinos actually resembled strange mixes of StockDinosaurs, rather than modern animals. ''Segnosaurus galbinensis'' used to be the best example of this in the recent past. When its incomplete remains [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_therizinosaur_research were discovered in the 1970s]], hailing from Late Cretaceous Mongolia like the original limbs of ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Deinocheirus]]'', this 24 ft/7 m long dinosaur made the scientists' eyes roll in their sockets: how could a dinosaur have the body-shape of a prosauropod, the forelimbs of a theropod, and an ''Iguanodon''-like skull with a round bill at the front and grinding teeth behind? And, even though its pelvis was clearly saurischian in its overall structure, why did it have the pubis uniquely pointing ''backwards''? Taxonomists were totally confused, and placed ''Segnosaurus'' in its own group: the Segnosauria, along with three other less-known even more incomplete relatives (''Erlikosaurus'', ''Nanshiungosaurus'', and the meaningfully-named ''Enigmosaurus''), also Late Cretaceous and found in the same years of ''Segnosaurus'' in Mongolia or in China. Segnosaurians were believed a separate evolutive branch which arose early in dino-evolution, and were classified in between theropods and sauropodomorphs, sauropodomorphs and ornithischians or sometimes even saurischians and ornithischians. ScienceMarchesOn, however, and at the beginning of the 1990s, a much smaller relative, the 12 ft/3.5 m long ''Alxasaurus'' (from Early Cretaceous China) clearly showed a coelurosaurian anatomy. This meant that segnosaurs were not only true theropods, but also members of the Maniraptoriformes. Not only this: thanks to a more accurate comparison, it was discovered that the enigmatic ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Therizinosaurus]]'' was another member of the same group (this had already been postulated before the nineties, but was still not demonstrable at the time). Today, ''Therizinosaurus'', being [[RuleOfCool far cooler-looking]], is much more frequent in books than ''Segnosaurus'', and the whole group is officially named Therizinosauria in taxonomy. ''Therizinosaurus'' too has had its own ScienceMarchesOn story, totally independent from that of ''Segnosaurus'', and more similar to that of the ornithomimosaur ''Deinocheirus''. The diet of ''Segnosaurus'' used to be just [[WildMassGuessing as problematic as its classification]]. One early theory made it a ''fish-eater'' like ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Baryonyx]]'' and ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Spinosaurus]]'', but slippery fish could have easily escaped from its round beak, and the theory was rapidly discarded. However, some paintings made in the eighties have shown ''Segnosaurus'' as a semi-acquatic fisher even with ''webbed feet'' (the last thing was based on alleged footprints). Indeed, the segnosaur had stockier hindlegs and shorter feet than most other theropods (its name means "slow lizard"), but this doesn't mean it was like a wading bird such as a wild goose or a heron. Another early unlikely hypothesis made segnosaurians ant-eaters and/or termite-eaters because of their large handclaws apparently apt to dig into ant-nests and termite-mounds; but again, these dinosaurs hadn't the typical tubular muzzle of a mammalian anteater, and such large creatures perhaps couldn't have lived on insects alone. Interesting is that even ''Deinocheirus'' and ''Therizinosaurus'' were hypothized to have been "prehistoric anteaters" only because of their big claws. Today, it's generally agreed that ''Segnosaurus'' and the other large therizinosaurians were specialized [[VegetarianCarnivore plant-eating theropods]], strikingly convergent with ornithopods or early sauropodomorphs. This is the best theory also because explains their backward-pointing pubis: its function was probably to give space to the massive gut of a herbivore without losing the bipedality of a theropod.[[note]] Furthermore, other theropods with backward-pointing pubes are also known now, most of which are coelurosaurs, including dromaeosaurids and birds, though these appear to have acquired their backward-pointing pubes through a change regarding which muscles they used for running.[[/note]]. Even though other birdlike theropods (ornithomimids, oviraptorids) could have eaten fruits or other kinds of vegetation, only therizinosaurs appeared specialized to a strict herbivorous diet based upon tree-leaves. If it wasn't for their unmistakeably theropodian forelimbs you could easily confound them with ornithopods like ''Iguanodon'' if they'd be alive today.

to:

* Most dinosaurs would appear as a bunch of MixAndMatchCritters if alive today, with traits resembling those of mammals, bird, and crocodiles. But the MixAndMatchCritter trope can also be applied in a more subtle way. Some relatively unknown dinos actually resembled strange mixes of StockDinosaurs, rather than modern animals. ''Segnosaurus galbinensis'' used to be the best example of this in the recent past. When its incomplete remains [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_therizinosaur_research were discovered in the 1970s]], hailing from Late Cretaceous Mongolia like the original limbs of ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Deinocheirus]]'', this 24 ft/7 m long dinosaur made the scientists' eyes roll in their sockets: how could a dinosaur have the body-shape of a prosauropod, the forelimbs of a theropod, and an ''Iguanodon''-like skull with a round bill at the front and grinding teeth behind? And, even though its pelvis was clearly saurischian in its overall structure, why did it have the pubis uniquely pointing ''backwards''? Taxonomists were totally confused, and placed ''Segnosaurus'' in its own group: the Segnosauria, along with three other less-known even more incomplete relatives (''Erlikosaurus'', ''Nanshiungosaurus'', and the meaningfully-named ''Enigmosaurus''), also Late Cretaceous and found in the same years of ''Segnosaurus'' in Mongolia or in China. Segnosaurians (lit. "slow lizards") were believed a separate evolutive branch which arose early in dino-evolution, and were classified in between theropods and sauropodomorphs, sauropodomorphs and ornithischians or sometimes even saurischians and ornithischians. ScienceMarchesOn, however, and at the beginning of the 1990s, a much smaller relative, the 12 ft/3.5 m long ''Alxasaurus'' (from Early Cretaceous China) clearly showed a coelurosaurian anatomy. This meant that segnosaurs were not only true theropods, but also members of the Maniraptoriformes. Not only this: thanks to a more accurate comparison, it was discovered that the enigmatic ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Therizinosaurus]]'' was another member of the same group (this had already been postulated before the nineties, but was still not demonstrable at the time). Today, ''Therizinosaurus'', being [[RuleOfCool far cooler-looking]], is much more frequent in books than ''Segnosaurus'', and the whole group is officially named Therizinosauria in taxonomy. ''Therizinosaurus'' too has had its own ScienceMarchesOn story, totally independent from that of ''Segnosaurus'', and more similar to that of the ornithomimosaur ''Deinocheirus''. The diet of ''Segnosaurus'' used to be just [[WildMassGuessing as problematic as its classification]]. One early theory made it a ''fish-eater'' like ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Baryonyx]]'' and ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Spinosaurus]]'', but slippery fish could have easily escaped from its round beak, and the theory was rapidly discarded. However, some paintings made in the eighties have shown ''Segnosaurus'' as a semi-acquatic fisher even with ''webbed feet'' (the last thing was based on alleged footprints). Indeed, the segnosaur had stockier hindlegs and shorter feet than most other theropods (its name means "slow lizard"), but this doesn't mean it was like a wading bird such as a wild goose or a heron. Another early unlikely hypothesis made segnosaurians ant-eaters and/or termite-eaters because of their large handclaws apparently apt to dig into ant-nests and termite-mounds; but again, these dinosaurs hadn't the typical tubular muzzle of a mammalian anteater, and such large creatures perhaps couldn't have lived on insects alone. Interesting is that even ''Deinocheirus'' and ''Therizinosaurus'' were hypothized to have been "prehistoric anteaters" only because of their big claws. Today, it's generally agreed that ''Segnosaurus'' and the other large therizinosaurians were specialized [[VegetarianCarnivore plant-eating theropods]], strikingly convergent with ornithopods or early sauropodomorphs. This is the best theory also because explains their backward-pointing pubis: its function was probably to give space to the massive gut of a herbivore without losing the bipedality of a theropod.[[note]] Furthermore, other theropods with backward-pointing pubes are also known now, most of which are coelurosaurs, including dromaeosaurids and birds, though these appear to have acquired their backward-pointing pubes through a change regarding which muscles they used for running.[[/note]]. Even though other birdlike theropods (ornithomimids, oviraptorids) could have eaten fruits or other kinds of vegetation, only therizinosaurs appeared specialized to a strict herbivorous diet based upon tree-leaves. If it wasn't for their unmistakeably theropodian forelimbs you could easily confound them with ornithopods like ''Iguanodon'' if they'd be alive today.


* Most dinosaurs would appear as a bunch of MixAndMatchCritters if alive today, with traits resembling those of mammals, bird, and crocodiles. But the MixAndMatchCritter trope can also be applied in a more subtle way. Some relatively unknown dinos actually resembled strange mixes of StockDinosaurs, rather than modern animals. ''Segnosaurus'' used to be the best example of this in the recent past. When its incomplete remains [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_therizinosaur_research were discovered in the 1970s]], hailing from Late Cretaceous Mongolia like the original limbs of ''Deinocheirus'', this 24 ft/7 m long dinosaur made the scientists' eyes roll in their sockets: how could a dinosaur have the body-shape of a prosauropod, the forelimbs of a theropod, and an ''Iguanodon''-like skull with a round bill at the front and grinding teeth behind? And, even though its pelvis was clearly saurischian in its overall structure, why did it have the pubis uniquely pointing ''backwards''? Taxonomists were totally confused, and placed ''Segnosaurus'' in its own group: the Segnosauria, along with three other less-known even more incomplete relatives (''Erlikosaurus'', ''Nanshiungosaurus'', and the meaningfully-named ''Enigmosaurus''), also Late Cretaceous and found in the same years of ''Segnosaurus'' in Mongolia or in China. Segnosaurians were believed a separate evolutive branch which arose early in dino-evolution, and were classified in between theropods and sauropodomorphs, sauropodomorphs and ornithischians or sometimes even saurischians and ornithischians. ScienceMarchesOn, however, and at the beginning of the 1990s, a much smaller relative, the 12 ft/3.5 m long ''Alxasaurus'' (from Early Cretaceous China) clearly showed a coelurosaurian anatomy. This meant that segnosaurs were not only true theropods, but also members of the Maniraptoriformes. Not only this: thanks to a more accurate comparison, it was discovered that the enigmatic ''Therizinosaurus'' was another member of the same group (this had already been postulated before the nineties, but was still not demonstrable at the time). Today, ''Therizinosaurus'', being [[RuleOfCool far cooler-looking]], is much more frequent in books than ''Segnosaurus'', and the whole group is officially named Therizinosauria in taxonomy. ''Therizinosaurus'' too has had its own ScienceMarchesOn story, totally independent from that of ''Segnosaurus'', and more similar to that of ''Deinocheirus''. We'll get to that [[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs here]]. The diet of ''Segnosaurus'' used to be just [[WildMassGuessing as problematic as its classification]]. One early theory made it a ''fish-eater'' like ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Baryonyx]]'' and ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Spinosaurus]]'', but slippery fish could have easily escaped from its round beak, and the theory was rapidly discarded. However, some paintings made in the eighties have shown ''Segnosaurus'' as a semi-acquatic fisher even with ''webbed feet'' (the last thing was based on alleged footprints). Indeed, the segnosaur had stockier hindlegs and shorter feet than most other theropods (its name means "slow lizard"), but this doesn't mean it was like a wading bird such as a wild goose or a heron. Another early unlikely hypothesis made segnosaurians ant-eaters and/or termite-eaters because of their large handclaws apparently apt to dig into ant-nests and termite-mounds; but again, these dinosaurs hadn't the typical tubular muzzle of a mammalian anteater, and such large creatures perhaps couldn't have lived on insects alone. Interesting is that even ''Deinocheirus'' and ''Therizinosaurus'' were hypothized to have been "prehistoric anteaters" only because of their big claws. Today, it's generally agreed that ''Segnosaurus'' and the other large therizinosaurians were specialized [[VegetarianCarnivore plant-eating theropods]], strikingly convergent with ornithopods or early sauropodomorphs. This is the best theory also because explains their backward-pointing pubis: its function was probably to give space to the massive gut of a herbivore without losing the bipedality of a theropod.[[note]] Furthermore, other theropods with backward-pointing pubes are also known now, most of which are coelurosaurs, including dromaeosaurids and birds, though these appear to have acquired their backward-pointing pubes through a change regarding which muscles they used for running.[[/note]]. Even though other birdlike theropods (ornithomimids, oviraptorids) could have eaten fruits or other kinds of vegetation, only therizinosaurs appeared specialized to a strict herbivorous diet based upon tree-leaves. If it wasn't for their unmistakeably theropodian forelimbs you could easily confound them with ornithopods like ''Iguanodon'' if they'd be alive today.

to:

* Most dinosaurs would appear as a bunch of MixAndMatchCritters if alive today, with traits resembling those of mammals, bird, and crocodiles. But the MixAndMatchCritter trope can also be applied in a more subtle way. Some relatively unknown dinos actually resembled strange mixes of StockDinosaurs, rather than modern animals. ''Segnosaurus'' ''Segnosaurus galbinensis'' used to be the best example of this in the recent past. When its incomplete remains [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_therizinosaur_research were discovered in the 1970s]], hailing from Late Cretaceous Mongolia like the original limbs of ''Deinocheirus'', ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Deinocheirus]]'', this 24 ft/7 m long dinosaur made the scientists' eyes roll in their sockets: how could a dinosaur have the body-shape of a prosauropod, the forelimbs of a theropod, and an ''Iguanodon''-like skull with a round bill at the front and grinding teeth behind? And, even though its pelvis was clearly saurischian in its overall structure, why did it have the pubis uniquely pointing ''backwards''? Taxonomists were totally confused, and placed ''Segnosaurus'' in its own group: the Segnosauria, along with three other less-known even more incomplete relatives (''Erlikosaurus'', ''Nanshiungosaurus'', and the meaningfully-named ''Enigmosaurus''), also Late Cretaceous and found in the same years of ''Segnosaurus'' in Mongolia or in China. Segnosaurians were believed a separate evolutive branch which arose early in dino-evolution, and were classified in between theropods and sauropodomorphs, sauropodomorphs and ornithischians or sometimes even saurischians and ornithischians. ScienceMarchesOn, however, and at the beginning of the 1990s, a much smaller relative, the 12 ft/3.5 m long ''Alxasaurus'' (from Early Cretaceous China) clearly showed a coelurosaurian anatomy. This meant that segnosaurs were not only true theropods, but also members of the Maniraptoriformes. Not only this: thanks to a more accurate comparison, it was discovered that the enigmatic ''Therizinosaurus'' ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursNonDinosaurs Therizinosaurus]]'' was another member of the same group (this had already been postulated before the nineties, but was still not demonstrable at the time). Today, ''Therizinosaurus'', being [[RuleOfCool far cooler-looking]], is much more frequent in books than ''Segnosaurus'', and the whole group is officially named Therizinosauria in taxonomy. ''Therizinosaurus'' too has had its own ScienceMarchesOn story, totally independent from that of ''Segnosaurus'', and more similar to that of ''Deinocheirus''. We'll get to that [[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs here]].the ornithomimosaur ''Deinocheirus''. The diet of ''Segnosaurus'' used to be just [[WildMassGuessing as problematic as its classification]]. One early theory made it a ''fish-eater'' like ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Baryonyx]]'' and ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Spinosaurus]]'', but slippery fish could have easily escaped from its round beak, and the theory was rapidly discarded. However, some paintings made in the eighties have shown ''Segnosaurus'' as a semi-acquatic fisher even with ''webbed feet'' (the last thing was based on alleged footprints). Indeed, the segnosaur had stockier hindlegs and shorter feet than most other theropods (its name means "slow lizard"), but this doesn't mean it was like a wading bird such as a wild goose or a heron. Another early unlikely hypothesis made segnosaurians ant-eaters and/or termite-eaters because of their large handclaws apparently apt to dig into ant-nests and termite-mounds; but again, these dinosaurs hadn't the typical tubular muzzle of a mammalian anteater, and such large creatures perhaps couldn't have lived on insects alone. Interesting is that even ''Deinocheirus'' and ''Therizinosaurus'' were hypothized to have been "prehistoric anteaters" only because of their big claws. Today, it's generally agreed that ''Segnosaurus'' and the other large therizinosaurians were specialized [[VegetarianCarnivore plant-eating theropods]], strikingly convergent with ornithopods or early sauropodomorphs. This is the best theory also because explains their backward-pointing pubis: its function was probably to give space to the massive gut of a herbivore without losing the bipedality of a theropod.[[note]] Furthermore, other theropods with backward-pointing pubes are also known now, most of which are coelurosaurs, including dromaeosaurids and birds, though these appear to have acquired their backward-pointing pubes through a change regarding which muscles they used for running.[[/note]]. Even though other birdlike theropods (ornithomimids, oviraptorids) could have eaten fruits or other kinds of vegetation, only therizinosaurs appeared specialized to a strict herbivorous diet based upon tree-leaves. If it wasn't for their unmistakeably theropodian forelimbs you could easily confound them with ornithopods like ''Iguanodon'' if they'd be alive today.


[[folder:Alvarezsaurids]]

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[[folder:Alvarezsaurids]]
[[folder:Therizinosaurs]]



'''One-fingered hands:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mononykus Mononykus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvarezsaurus Alvarezsaurus]]'' & ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuvuuia Shuvuuia]]''

* Let's go discover another bird-like dinosaur which just like ''Avimimus'' has always been portrayed with feathers since the beginning: ''Mononykus olecranus''. Discovered in 1993, 12 years later than the latter, ''Mononykus'' was initially called “''Mononychus''”, but that name was already taken by an insect (a modern beetle to be precise). ''Mononykus'', however, was not an early oviraptorosaur but a more enigmatic animal which shared Late Cretaceous Mongolia with ''Velociraptor'', ''Saurornithoides'', ''Oviraptor'', ''Avimimus'' itself, and several other coelurosaurs. Only 3 ft long, smaller than the 5 ft ''Avimimus'', ''Mononykus'' surprised the scientists who found it because of its absolutely unique, ''one-fingered'' hands with a large thumbclaw each (the other two digits usually present in coelurosaurian hands were simple stubs): indeed, both "Mononychus" and "Mononykus" mean "one claw" in greek. We still don't know how ''Mononykus'' could have used these "hands" that make it one of the most striking examples of the HookHand trope in the dinosaur world: maybe it destroyed termite-mounds with them? One close relative, ''Shuvuuia'' (which just means “bird” in Mongolian), was a close relative found in 1999, and lived alongside ''Mononykus''. Its full name, ''Shuvuuia deserti'', means "desert bird" because was found in the Gobi desert. Unlike the mononykus, ''Shuvuuia'' has left some cranial remains, which show tiny teeth and an uniquely mobile upper jaw: unlike all other nonbird dinosaurs, but totally similar to modern birds. But this discovery has only made their way of life even more enigmatic. These dinosaurs, along with other relatives, form the Alvarezsaurids. This was a mainly Cretaceous family named after ''Alvarezsaurus'', a more primitive South American genus discovered incidentally in the same year as ''Mononykus''. ''Alvarezsaurus'' spanish name means "Alvarez's lizard": despite its primitiveness it already had one-claw hands, and its remain was incidentally found near a local Nature Museum! It’s significant that because of its incompleteness ''Alvarezsaurus'' was initially thought [[ScienceMarchesOn a late-surviving ceratosaur that convergently became similar to an ornithomimid]], and originally depicted with toothless jaws, three-fingered hands, but also a very long tail twice the length of the rest of the body. Whereas ''Mononykus'' was at first identified as a sort of ''running bird'', closer to a house sparrow than ''Archaeopteryx'' was: that's why it has unusually been depicted feathered since its original description in spite of having not left prints of feathers (''Shuvuuia'' on the other hand has left some tracks of feathers in the rock). Probably it was its one-fingered arms, resembling the wing-skeleton of a bird, that given to ''Mononykus'' the original classification as a long-tailed flightless bird, something between ''Archaeopteryx'' and ''Ichthyornis''/''Hesperornis''. Actually, the classification of the whole family has always been very problematic: alvarezsaurs have been variably put next to ornithomimids, to troodontids, or to ''Archaeopteryx'' (in this case, they would really be very primitive birds); this is because their specialized hands made comparisons with other theropods a difficult task. However, the discovery in 2010 of a basal relative called ''Haplocheirus'' with a complete, three-fingered hand has since confirmed alvarezsaurs as non-avian maniraptors, slightly more advanced than therizinosaurs (see below). Also note that, since “''Mononychus''” was changed to “''Mononykus''” in the same year of the first description, most alvarezsaurid genera have since called with the suffix –''onykus'', in a real-life FollowTheLeader example: ''Patagonykus'', ''Ceratonykus'' and so on. One of them has been found in Alberta, living alongside many popular Late Cretaceous dinosaurs: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albertonykus Albertonykus]]''. Alvarezsaurids also include one of the smallest non-bird dinosaurs ever: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parvicursor Parvicursor]]'' ("small runner") was only one foot long and the same size of the more famed ''Anchiornis''. It's interesting to note that, unlike most other coelurosaurian groups, the alvarezsaurs failed to produce any truly giant members: ''Rapator ornitholestoides'' from Early Cretaceous Australia was thought by some to be a giant alvarezsaur, but is instead a [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeLargeTheropods megaraptoran]]. Still uncertain is the classification of ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradycneme Bradycneme]]'' ("slow knee"), a poorly-known fossil from Late Cretaceous Romania: originally classified as a prehistoric owl and then a dromaeosaurid (like another enigmatic animal of the same fauna, ''Heptasteornis''), some researches seem indicating it was an European member of the alvarezsaurids. ''Elopteryx'' from the same fauna (once confused with ''Bradycneme'') was also thought a pelican-like bird, but now seems to be a maniraptoran.

to:

'''One-fingered hands:''' '''Mix and Match Critter:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mononykus Mononykus]]'', ''[[http://en.org/wiki/Segnosaurus Segnosaurus]]''

* Most dinosaurs would appear as a bunch of MixAndMatchCritters if alive today, with traits resembling those of mammals, bird, and crocodiles. But the MixAndMatchCritter trope can also be applied in a more subtle way. Some relatively unknown dinos actually resembled strange mixes of StockDinosaurs, rather than modern animals. ''Segnosaurus'' used to be the best example of this in the recent past. When its incomplete remains [[http://en.
wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvarezsaurus Alvarezsaurus]]'' & ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuvuuia Shuvuuia]]''

* Let's go discover another bird-like dinosaur which just like ''Avimimus'' has always been portrayed with feathers since
org/wiki/Timeline_of_therizinosaur_research were discovered in the beginning: ''Mononykus olecranus''. Discovered in 1993, 12 years later than the latter, ''Mononykus'' was initially called “''Mononychus''”, but that name was already taken by an insect (a modern beetle to be precise). ''Mononykus'', however, was not an early oviraptorosaur but a more enigmatic animal which shared 1970s]], hailing from Late Cretaceous Mongolia with ''Velociraptor'', ''Saurornithoides'', ''Oviraptor'', ''Avimimus'' itself, and several other coelurosaurs. Only 3 ft long, smaller than the 5 ft ''Avimimus'', ''Mononykus'' surprised the scientists who found it because of its absolutely unique, ''one-fingered'' hands with a large thumbclaw each (the other two digits usually present in coelurosaurian hands were simple stubs): indeed, both "Mononychus" and "Mononykus" mean "one claw" in greek. We still don't know how ''Mononykus'' could have used these "hands" that make it one of the most striking examples of the HookHand trope in the dinosaur world: maybe it destroyed termite-mounds with them? One close relative, ''Shuvuuia'' (which just means “bird” in Mongolian), was a close relative found in 1999, and lived alongside ''Mononykus''. Its full name, ''Shuvuuia deserti'', means "desert bird" because was found in the Gobi desert. Unlike the mononykus, ''Shuvuuia'' has left some cranial remains, which show tiny teeth and an uniquely mobile upper jaw: unlike all other nonbird dinosaurs, but totally similar to modern birds. But this discovery has only made their way of life even more enigmatic. These dinosaurs, along with other relatives, form the Alvarezsaurids. This was a mainly Cretaceous family named after ''Alvarezsaurus'', a more primitive South American genus discovered incidentally in the same year as ''Mononykus''. ''Alvarezsaurus'' spanish name means "Alvarez's lizard": despite its primitiveness it already had one-claw hands, and its remain was incidentally found near a local Nature Museum! It’s significant that because of its incompleteness ''Alvarezsaurus'' was initially thought [[ScienceMarchesOn a late-surviving ceratosaur that convergently became similar to an ornithomimid]], and originally depicted with toothless jaws, three-fingered hands, but also a very long tail twice the length of the rest of the body. Whereas ''Mononykus'' was at first identified as a sort of ''running bird'', closer to a house sparrow than ''Archaeopteryx'' was: that's why it has unusually been depicted feathered since its original description in spite of having not left prints of feathers (''Shuvuuia'' on the other hand has left some tracks of feathers in the rock). Probably it was its one-fingered arms, resembling the wing-skeleton of a bird, that given to ''Mononykus'' like the original classification as a long-tailed flightless bird, something between ''Archaeopteryx'' and ''Ichthyornis''/''Hesperornis''. Actually, the classification limbs of the whole family has always been very problematic: alvarezsaurs have been variably put next to ornithomimids, to troodontids, or to ''Archaeopteryx'' (in ''Deinocheirus'', this case, they would really be very primitive birds); this is because 24 ft/7 m long dinosaur made the scientists' eyes roll in their specialized hands made comparisons with other theropods sockets: how could a difficult task. However, dinosaur have the discovery in 2010 body-shape of a basal relative called ''Haplocheirus'' prosauropod, the forelimbs of a theropod, and an ''Iguanodon''-like skull with a complete, three-fingered hand has since confirmed alvarezsaurs as non-avian maniraptors, slightly round bill at the front and grinding teeth behind? And, even though its pelvis was clearly saurischian in its overall structure, why did it have the pubis uniquely pointing ''backwards''? Taxonomists were totally confused, and placed ''Segnosaurus'' in its own group: the Segnosauria, along with three other less-known even more advanced than therizinosaurs (see below). Also note that, since “''Mononychus''” was changed to “''Mononykus''” in incomplete relatives (''Erlikosaurus'', ''Nanshiungosaurus'', and the same year of the first description, most alvarezsaurid genera have since called with the suffix –''onykus'', in a real-life FollowTheLeader example: ''Patagonykus'', ''Ceratonykus'' and so on. One of them has been found in Alberta, living alongside many popular meaningfully-named ''Enigmosaurus''), also Late Cretaceous dinosaurs: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albertonykus Albertonykus]]''. Alvarezsaurids also include one of the smallest non-bird dinosaurs ever: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parvicursor Parvicursor]]'' ("small runner") was only one foot long and found in the same size years of ''Segnosaurus'' in Mongolia or in China. Segnosaurians were believed a separate evolutive branch which arose early in dino-evolution, and were classified in between theropods and sauropodomorphs, sauropodomorphs and ornithischians or sometimes even saurischians and ornithischians. ScienceMarchesOn, however, and at the beginning of the more famed ''Anchiornis''. It's interesting to note that, unlike most other coelurosaurian groups, 1990s, a much smaller relative, the alvarezsaurs failed to produce any truly giant members: ''Rapator ornitholestoides'' from 12 ft/3.5 m long ''Alxasaurus'' (from Early Cretaceous Australia China) clearly showed a coelurosaurian anatomy. This meant that segnosaurs were not only true theropods, but also members of the Maniraptoriformes. Not only this: thanks to a more accurate comparison, it was thought by some to be a giant alvarezsaur, but is instead a [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeLargeTheropods megaraptoran]]. Still uncertain is discovered that the classification of ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradycneme Bradycneme]]'' ("slow knee"), a poorly-known fossil from Late Cretaceous Romania: originally classified as a prehistoric owl and then a dromaeosaurid (like another enigmatic animal of the same fauna, ''Heptasteornis''), some researches seem indicating it ''Therizinosaurus'' was an European another member of the alvarezsaurids. ''Elopteryx'' same group (this had already been postulated before the nineties, but was still not demonstrable at the time). Today, ''Therizinosaurus'', being [[RuleOfCool far cooler-looking]], is much more frequent in books than ''Segnosaurus'', and the whole group is officially named Therizinosauria in taxonomy. ''Therizinosaurus'' too has had its own ScienceMarchesOn story, totally independent from the same fauna (once confused with ''Bradycneme'') was also thought a pelican-like bird, but now seems that of ''Segnosaurus'', and more similar to that of ''Deinocheirus''. We'll get to that [[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs here]]. The diet of ''Segnosaurus'' used to be just [[WildMassGuessing as problematic as its classification]]. One early theory made it a maniraptoran.
''fish-eater'' like ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Baryonyx]]'' and ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Spinosaurus]]'', but slippery fish could have easily escaped from its round beak, and the theory was rapidly discarded. However, some paintings made in the eighties have shown ''Segnosaurus'' as a semi-acquatic fisher even with ''webbed feet'' (the last thing was based on alleged footprints). Indeed, the segnosaur had stockier hindlegs and shorter feet than most other theropods (its name means "slow lizard"), but this doesn't mean it was like a wading bird such as a wild goose or a heron. Another early unlikely hypothesis made segnosaurians ant-eaters and/or termite-eaters because of their large handclaws apparently apt to dig into ant-nests and termite-mounds; but again, these dinosaurs hadn't the typical tubular muzzle of a mammalian anteater, and such large creatures perhaps couldn't have lived on insects alone. Interesting is that even ''Deinocheirus'' and ''Therizinosaurus'' were hypothized to have been "prehistoric anteaters" only because of their big claws. Today, it's generally agreed that ''Segnosaurus'' and the other large therizinosaurians were specialized [[VegetarianCarnivore plant-eating theropods]], strikingly convergent with ornithopods or early sauropodomorphs. This is the best theory also because explains their backward-pointing pubis: its function was probably to give space to the massive gut of a herbivore without losing the bipedality of a theropod.[[note]] Furthermore, other theropods with backward-pointing pubes are also known now, most of which are coelurosaurs, including dromaeosaurids and birds, though these appear to have acquired their backward-pointing pubes through a change regarding which muscles they used for running.[[/note]]. Even though other birdlike theropods (ornithomimids, oviraptorids) could have eaten fruits or other kinds of vegetation, only therizinosaurs appeared specialized to a strict herbivorous diet based upon tree-leaves. If it wasn't for their unmistakeably theropodian forelimbs you could easily confound them with ornithopods like ''Iguanodon'' if they'd be alive today.



'''Converted to Veganism:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothronychus Nothronychus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alxasaurus Alxasaurus]]'' & ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcarius Falcarius]]''

* Today, therizinosaurs (or segnosaurs if you're more traditional) are a better-known group than in the past, but still with few kind described, both large and small. Among the large ones (all Late Cretaceous), most have been found in Asia, just like ''Segnosaurus'' and ''Therizinosaurus'': examples are the aforementioned ''Enigmosaurus'' and ''Erlikosaurus'' from Mongolia and ''Nanshiungosaurus'' from China. Only one large-sized therizinosaur is known so far from North America: ''Nothronychus'' ("sloth-claw"). Found in 2001, this one lived at the start of the Late Cretaceous, before the most-famous North American herbivores like the ceratopsids and the hadrosaurs: competition with them could have led it to its early extinction. ''Nothronychus'' is notable for its long slim neck, and like the other segnosaurs it's often depicted in a semierect posture, unlike most non-bird theropods which were more horizontally-bodied. Note that modern birds also can keep their bodies more or less upright according to the species -- think about the difference between an ostrich, a chicken, a goose, and a penguin, or also between an eagle and an owl. Among small therizinosaurs (all Early Cretaceous), other than ''Alxasaurus'' and the smaller ''Beipiaosaurus'' found in Liaoning, worthy of note is the North American ''Falcarius'' -- found in 2005, this one has left us with a whole graveyard containing ''hundreds'' of specimens. While the first two were rather evolved and shared typical therizinosaurian traits, ''Falcarius'' (the "scythe-bearer") has a slender structure more similar to a typical coelurosaur and was perhaps omnivorous. Maybe the most ancient therizinosaur is ''Eshanosaurus'' from the Early Jurassic of China, but its collocation in this group is highly controversial, and it may be a sauropod relative instead.

----



[[folder:Dinosaurs found with feathers]]

to:

[[folder:Dinosaurs found with feathers]]
[[folder:Alvarezsaurids]]



'''The first feathers in the rocks:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinosauropteryx Sinosauropteryx]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protarchaeopteryx Protarchaeopteryx]]'' & ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caudipteryx Caudipteryx]]''

* The first unequivocal [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_dinosaur non-avian dinosaur fossils with actual feathers preserved]] came to light in the second half of the 1990s in Liaoning (province of China). They were extraordinarily well-preserved, better than almost any other known dinosaur fossil; they were all small-sized (the biggest was only 8 ft long); they hailed from the Early Cretaceous (unlike the Late Cretaceous ''Avimimus'', ''Mononykus'', and ''Shuvuuia''), and sometimes from Late Jurassic; and they represented almost all of the main coelurosaur subgroups, giving a sort of snapshot of the coelurosaurian fauna of the time. More than 30 genera have been described so far, and others could still join them in the future: we’ll mention only some examples here. ''Sinosauropteryx'' (“Chinese feathered lizard”) was the first to be discovered (1996); a [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods compsognathid]], it was the very first non-avian dinosaur to have shown prints of feathers; being it was a non-maniraptoran coelurosaur, these were still down-like, unlike modern feathers. The very first Liaoning coelurosaurs, discovered with vaned feathers in 1997 and 1998, were much closer to birds: these were ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (“First ''Archaeopteryx''”) and ''Caudipteryx'' (“feathered tail”). Both were basal oviraptorosaurs somewhat similar to ''Avimimus'', but only 2-3 ft long and with teeth; they had pennaceous feathers on their forearms and their tail feathers were homologous to those of the famous ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Archaeopteryx]]'' (not casually, these three dinosaurs have been named with the suffix -pteryx). However, the wing-feathers of ''Caudipteryx'' and ''Protarchaeopteryx'' were short and symmetrical, unlike those of true birds, and thus totally unsuitable for flight. Soon after, the list of feathered dinosaur fossils increased dramatically each year. The herbivorous ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beipiaosaurus Beipiaosaurus]]'' is perhaps the most specialized among them, being a small therizinosaur (8 ft long) with a down-like covering and some thin feathers on its forearm. In 2004, ''even a feathered tyrannosauroid'' was discovered: ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods Dilong]]'', a slender coelurosaur with little external resemblance to a ''T. rex'', preserving some down-like feathers. Other Liaoning coelurosaurs showed up in the third episode "Dino-Birds" of the miniseries ''Series/PrehistoricPark''. The chosen ones were: the buck-toothed oviraptorosaur ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incisivosaurus Incisivosaurus]]'' ("incisor lizard") because of its [[RuleOfFunny funny look]], the troodontid ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mei_(dinosaur) Mei]]'' ("the sleeping one" in Chinese), [[note]] This one has until 2015 detained the record of “the shortest-named dino” along with the alvarezsaurid ''Kol'' and the sauropod ''Zby'' - the former record-holders were the Australian ankylosaur ''Minmi'' and the oviraptorosaur ''Khaan'', the current one is the scansoriopterygid ''Yi'' (see below) [[/note]] and, naturally, the ever-present ''Microraptor''.[[note]] Note, however, that fossils of ''Incisivosaurus'' and ''Mei'' have not yet been found preserving soft tissues, unlike the other dinosaurs listed here. Nonetheless, being maniraptors, they almost certainly had feathers. Also, ''Microraptor'' is known from a younger formation than the other dinosaurs mentioned here. Finally, some think that ''Incisivosaurus'' (known only from a skull) may be the same as ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (known from a skeleton with a badly damaged skull).[[/note]] In “Dino-Birds”, Nigel Marven makes a TimeTravel to the Cretaceous China to save some ''Microraptor''s from extinction; before ending the mission, he encounters several ''Mei'' (referred to by their whole scientific name: ''Mei long'', lit. "sleeping dragon") apparently sleeping in the same bird-like position in which the type specimen was found fossilized (they were actually dead), while the other ''Mei long'' act as the “danger of the forest”, and to fit their fearsome better role, are [[RuleOfCool oversized]] [[ArtisticLicensePaleontology and lack feathers]].

to:

'''The first feathers in the rocks:''' '''One-fingered hands:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinosauropteryx Sinosauropteryx]]'', org/wiki/Mononykus Mononykus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protarchaeopteryx Protarchaeopteryx]]'' org/wiki/Alvarezsaurus Alvarezsaurus]]'' & ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caudipteryx Caudipteryx]]''

org/wiki/Shuvuuia Shuvuuia]]''

* The Let's go discover another bird-like dinosaur which just like ''Avimimus'' has always been portrayed with feathers since the beginning: ''Mononykus olecranus''. Discovered in 1993, 12 years later than the latter, ''Mononykus'' was initially called “''Mononychus''”, but that name was already taken by an insect (a modern beetle to be precise). ''Mononykus'', however, was not an early oviraptorosaur but a more enigmatic animal which shared Late Cretaceous Mongolia with ''Velociraptor'', ''Saurornithoides'', ''Oviraptor'', ''Avimimus'' itself, and several other coelurosaurs. Only 3 ft long, smaller than the 5 ft ''Avimimus'', ''Mononykus'' surprised the scientists who found it because of its absolutely unique, ''one-fingered'' hands with a large thumbclaw each (the other two digits usually present in coelurosaurian hands were simple stubs): indeed, both "Mononychus" and "Mononykus" mean "one claw" in greek. We still don't know how ''Mononykus'' could have used these "hands" that make it one of the most striking examples of the HookHand trope in the dinosaur world: maybe it destroyed termite-mounds with them? One close relative, ''Shuvuuia'' (which just means “bird” in Mongolian), was a close relative found in 1999, and lived alongside ''Mononykus''. Its full name, ''Shuvuuia deserti'', means "desert bird" because was found in the Gobi desert. Unlike the mononykus, ''Shuvuuia'' has left some cranial remains, which show tiny teeth and an uniquely mobile upper jaw: unlike all other nonbird dinosaurs, but totally similar to modern birds. But this discovery has only made their way of life even more enigmatic. These dinosaurs, along with other relatives, form the Alvarezsaurids. This was a mainly Cretaceous family named after ''Alvarezsaurus'', a more primitive South American genus discovered incidentally in the same year as ''Mononykus''. ''Alvarezsaurus'' spanish name means "Alvarez's lizard": despite its primitiveness it already had one-claw hands, and its remain was incidentally found near a local Nature Museum! It’s significant that because of its incompleteness ''Alvarezsaurus'' was initially thought [[ScienceMarchesOn a late-surviving ceratosaur that convergently became similar to an ornithomimid]], and originally depicted with toothless jaws, three-fingered hands, but also a very long tail twice the length of the rest of the body. Whereas ''Mononykus'' was at first unequivocal [[http://en.identified as a sort of ''running bird'', closer to a house sparrow than ''Archaeopteryx'' was: that's why it has unusually been depicted feathered since its original description in spite of having not left prints of feathers (''Shuvuuia'' on the other hand has left some tracks of feathers in the rock). Probably it was its one-fingered arms, resembling the wing-skeleton of a bird, that given to ''Mononykus'' the original classification as a long-tailed flightless bird, something between ''Archaeopteryx'' and ''Ichthyornis''/''Hesperornis''. Actually, the classification of the whole family has always been very problematic: alvarezsaurs have been variably put next to ornithomimids, to troodontids, or to ''Archaeopteryx'' (in this case, they would really be very primitive birds); this is because their specialized hands made comparisons with other theropods a difficult task. However, the discovery in 2010 of a basal relative called ''Haplocheirus'' with a complete, three-fingered hand has since confirmed alvarezsaurs as non-avian maniraptors, slightly more advanced than therizinosaurs (see below). Also note that, since “''Mononychus''” was changed to “''Mononykus''” in the same year of the first description, most alvarezsaurid genera have since called with the suffix –''onykus'', in a real-life FollowTheLeader example: ''Patagonykus'', ''Ceratonykus'' and so on. One of them has been found in Alberta, living alongside many popular Late Cretaceous dinosaurs: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_dinosaur non-avian dinosaur fossils with actual feathers preserved]] came to light in the second half org/wiki/Albertonykus Albertonykus]]''. Alvarezsaurids also include one of the 1990s in Liaoning (province of China). They were extraordinarily well-preserved, better than almost any other known dinosaur fossil; they were all small-sized (the biggest was only 8 ft long); they hailed from the Early Cretaceous (unlike the Late Cretaceous ''Avimimus'', ''Mononykus'', and ''Shuvuuia''), and sometimes from Late Jurassic; and they represented almost all of the main coelurosaur subgroups, giving a sort of snapshot of the coelurosaurian fauna of the time. More than 30 genera have been described so far, and others could still join them in the future: we’ll mention only some examples here. ''Sinosauropteryx'' (“Chinese feathered lizard”) was the first to be discovered (1996); a [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods compsognathid]], it was the very first non-avian dinosaur to have shown prints of feathers; being it was a non-maniraptoran coelurosaur, these were still down-like, unlike modern feathers. The very first Liaoning coelurosaurs, discovered with vaned feathers in 1997 and 1998, were much closer to birds: these were ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (“First ''Archaeopteryx''”) and ''Caudipteryx'' (“feathered tail”). Both were basal oviraptorosaurs somewhat similar to ''Avimimus'', but only 2-3 ft long and with teeth; they had pennaceous feathers on their forearms and their tail feathers were homologous to those of the famous ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Archaeopteryx]]'' (not casually, these three smallest non-bird dinosaurs have been named with the suffix -pteryx). However, the wing-feathers of ''Caudipteryx'' and ''Protarchaeopteryx'' were short and symmetrical, unlike those of true birds, and thus totally unsuitable for flight. Soon after, the list of feathered dinosaur fossils increased dramatically each year. The herbivorous ever: ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beipiaosaurus Beipiaosaurus]]'' is perhaps org/wiki/Parvicursor Parvicursor]]'' ("small runner") was only one foot long and the most specialized among them, being a small therizinosaur (8 ft long) with a down-like covering and some thin feathers on its forearm. In 2004, ''even a feathered tyrannosauroid'' was discovered: ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods Dilong]]'', a slender coelurosaur with little external resemblance to a ''T. rex'', preserving some down-like feathers. Other Liaoning coelurosaurs showed up in the third episode "Dino-Birds" same size of the miniseries ''Series/PrehistoricPark''. The chosen ones were: more famed ''Anchiornis''. It's interesting to note that, unlike most other coelurosaurian groups, the buck-toothed oviraptorosaur alvarezsaurs failed to produce any truly giant members: ''Rapator ornitholestoides'' from Early Cretaceous Australia was thought by some to be a giant alvarezsaur, but is instead a [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeLargeTheropods megaraptoran]]. Still uncertain is the classification of ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incisivosaurus Incisivosaurus]]'' ("incisor lizard") because of its [[RuleOfFunny funny look]], the troodontid ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mei_(dinosaur) Mei]]'' ("the sleeping one" in Chinese), [[note]] This one has until 2015 detained the record of “the shortest-named dino” along with the alvarezsaurid ''Kol'' and the sauropod ''Zby'' - the former record-holders were the Australian ankylosaur ''Minmi'' and the oviraptorosaur ''Khaan'', the current one is the scansoriopterygid ''Yi'' (see below) [[/note]] and, naturally, the ever-present ''Microraptor''.[[note]] Note, however, that fossils of ''Incisivosaurus'' and ''Mei'' have not yet been found preserving soft tissues, unlike the other dinosaurs listed here. Nonetheless, being maniraptors, they almost certainly had feathers. Also, ''Microraptor'' is known org/wiki/Bradycneme Bradycneme]]'' ("slow knee"), a poorly-known fossil from a younger formation than the other dinosaurs mentioned here. Finally, some think that ''Incisivosaurus'' (known only from a skull) may be the same as ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (known from a skeleton with a badly damaged skull).[[/note]] In “Dino-Birds”, Nigel Marven makes a TimeTravel to the Late Cretaceous China to save some ''Microraptor''s from extinction; before ending the mission, he encounters several ''Mei'' (referred to by their whole scientific name: ''Mei long'', lit. "sleeping dragon") apparently sleeping in Romania: originally classified as a prehistoric owl and then a dromaeosaurid (like another enigmatic animal of the same bird-like position in which the type specimen fauna, ''Heptasteornis''), some researches seem indicating it was found fossilized (they were actually dead), while the other ''Mei long'' act as the “danger an European member of the forest”, and alvarezsaurids. ''Elopteryx'' from the same fauna (once confused with ''Bradycneme'') was also thought a pelican-like bird, but now seems to fit their fearsome better role, are [[RuleOfCool oversized]] [[ArtisticLicensePaleontology and lack feathers]].
be a maniraptoran.



'''Cross between Archaeopteryx and Velociraptor?''' the "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeoraptor Archaeoraptor]]" fake


* We've already talked about ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Microraptor]]'' in the Stock Dinosaurs page; here we can add some other informations about it. Over the years, several interesting specimens of this dinosaur have been found. One of these was originally named ''Cryptovolans'' ("hidden flyer") in 2002 and thought to be different from ''Microraptor'' due to a few seemingly unique features (a longer tail, for example). Further work showed that they are all present in ''Microraptor'', and so "''Cryptovolans''" fell into disuse. A specimen announced in 2011 provides a clue to its diet: this one seems to preserve the remains of an [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds enantiornithine bird]] in its stomach. A specimen published in 2013 shows it ate fish. As remarkable as those stories are, they don't come even close to a 2012 study carried out on one specimen. This study showed that its feathers were likely iridescent in color, troubling a previous suggestion it was nocturnal. But there is another, even more striking story to be told about ''Microraptor''. Before being discovered properly, the tail of one specimen had been mixed with the front end of a true bird found in Liaoning, ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds Yanornis]]''; the so-created MixAndMatchCritter was published in media as a new kind of bird-dinosaur, “''Archaeoraptor''” ("ancient plunderer"), but this hoax was exposed after qualified scientists studied the specimen -- in fact the world-''in''famous article that published the fake was so hastily put-together, they didn't even ''bother'' to check if it was a true fossil or not... leading to one of the biggest controversies of modern paleontology. But although “''Archaeoraptor''” itself didn't exist, its tail belonged to a real animal, one that redefined our understanding of dinosaurs even more than an actual “''Archaeoraptor''” would have. This is an often overlooked detail, especially by creationists and conspiracy theorists who still can't let go of the controversy.

to:

'''Cross between Archaeopteryx and Velociraptor?''' the "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeoraptor Archaeoraptor]]" fake


* We've already talked about ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Microraptor]]'' in the Stock Dinosaurs page; here we can add some other informations about it. Over the years, several interesting specimens of this dinosaur have been found. One of these was originally named ''Cryptovolans'' ("hidden flyer") in 2002 and thought to be different from ''Microraptor'' due to a few seemingly unique features (a longer tail, for example). Further work showed that they are all present in ''Microraptor'', and so "''Cryptovolans''" fell into disuse. A specimen announced in 2011 provides a clue to its diet: this one seems to preserve the remains of an [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds enantiornithine bird]] in its stomach. A specimen published in 2013 shows it ate fish. As remarkable as those stories are, they don't come even close to a 2012 study carried out on one specimen. This study showed that its feathers were likely iridescent in color, troubling a previous suggestion it was nocturnal. But there is another, even more striking story to be told about ''Microraptor''. Before being discovered properly, the tail of one specimen had been mixed with the front end of a true bird
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Dinosaurs
found in Liaoning, ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds Yanornis]]''; the so-created MixAndMatchCritter was published in media as a new kind of bird-dinosaur, “''Archaeoraptor''” ("ancient plunderer"), but this hoax was exposed after qualified scientists studied the specimen -- in fact the world-''in''famous article that published the fake was so hastily put-together, they didn't even ''bother'' to check if it was a true fossil or not... leading to one of the biggest controversies of modern paleontology. But although “''Archaeoraptor''” itself didn't exist, its tail belonged to a real animal, one that redefined our understanding of dinosaurs even more than an actual “''Archaeoraptor''” would have. This is an often overlooked detail, especially by creationists and conspiracy theorists who still can't let go of the controversy.
with feathers]]



'''Venomous bite?:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinornithosaurus Sinornithosaurus]]''

* Yet another feathered, gliding maniraptor from China, ''Sinornithosaurus'' ("chinese bird-lizard") could be described as the''Microraptor's'' DarkerAndEdgier cousin. A noteworthy controversy surrounding ''Sinornithosaurus'' was the idea that it may have been ''venomous''. Upon its discovery, people had noticed a series of grooves running down its fang-like teeth, which bore a strong resemblance to those of the venomous Gila monster lizard. This led them to believe that it may have had a venomous bite. For bonus points, they found what appeared to be a venom sac meant to pump the venom into the prey item's body. As [[RuleOfCool awesome]] as this theory was, it was [[ScienceMarchesOn shot down]] after merely a year of being put forward. But that doesn't make it's actual hunting strategy any less awesome; ''Sinornithosaurus'' was likely the one raptor that most resembled modern [[NobleBirdOfPrey raptors]]. It is believed to have been a predator that spent much of its time in the trees, [[DeathFromAbove launching attacks on small animals from above]]. Another interesting thing about ''Sinornithosaurus'' is that, like ''Anchiornis'' below, its colors have actually been discovered; ''Sinornithosaurus'' would likely have been [[AmazingTechnicolorWildlife brightly adorned]] [[RedAndBlackAndEvilAllOver with varying shades of orange, red, yellow, black and grey]].

to:

'''Venomous bite?:''' '''The first feathers in the rocks:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinornithosaurus Sinornithosaurus]]''

org/wiki/Sinosauropteryx Sinosauropteryx]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protarchaeopteryx Protarchaeopteryx]]'' & ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caudipteryx Caudipteryx]]''

* Yet another feathered, gliding maniraptor The first unequivocal [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_dinosaur non-avian dinosaur fossils with actual feathers preserved]] came to light in the second half of the 1990s in Liaoning (province of China). They were extraordinarily well-preserved, better than almost any other known dinosaur fossil; they were all small-sized (the biggest was only 8 ft long); they hailed from China, ''Sinornithosaurus'' ("chinese bird-lizard") could be the Early Cretaceous (unlike the Late Cretaceous ''Avimimus'', ''Mononykus'', and ''Shuvuuia''), and sometimes from Late Jurassic; and they represented almost all of the main coelurosaur subgroups, giving a sort of snapshot of the coelurosaurian fauna of the time. More than 30 genera have been described as the''Microraptor's'' DarkerAndEdgier cousin. A noteworthy controversy surrounding ''Sinornithosaurus'' so far, and others could still join them in the future: we’ll mention only some examples here. ''Sinosauropteryx'' (“Chinese feathered lizard”) was the idea that first to be discovered (1996); a [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods compsognathid]], it may was the very first non-avian dinosaur to have been ''venomous''. Upon its discovery, people shown prints of feathers; being it was a non-maniraptoran coelurosaur, these were still down-like, unlike modern feathers. The very first Liaoning coelurosaurs, discovered with vaned feathers in 1997 and 1998, were much closer to birds: these were ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (“First ''Archaeopteryx''”) and ''Caudipteryx'' (“feathered tail”). Both were basal oviraptorosaurs somewhat similar to ''Avimimus'', but only 2-3 ft long and with teeth; they had noticed a series of grooves running down its fang-like teeth, which bore a strong resemblance pennaceous feathers on their forearms and their tail feathers were homologous to those of the venomous Gila monster lizard. famous ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Archaeopteryx]]'' (not casually, these three dinosaurs have been named with the suffix -pteryx). However, the wing-feathers of ''Caudipteryx'' and ''Protarchaeopteryx'' were short and symmetrical, unlike those of true birds, and thus totally unsuitable for flight. Soon after, the list of feathered dinosaur fossils increased dramatically each year. The herbivorous ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beipiaosaurus Beipiaosaurus]]'' is perhaps the most specialized among them, being a small therizinosaur (8 ft long) with a down-like covering and some thin feathers on its forearm. In 2004, ''even a feathered tyrannosauroid'' was discovered: ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeOtherSmallTheropods Dilong]]'', a slender coelurosaur with little external resemblance to a ''T. rex'', preserving some down-like feathers. Other Liaoning coelurosaurs showed up in the third episode "Dino-Birds" of the miniseries ''Series/PrehistoricPark''. The chosen ones were: the buck-toothed oviraptorosaur ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incisivosaurus Incisivosaurus]]'' ("incisor lizard") because of its [[RuleOfFunny funny look]], the troodontid ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mei_(dinosaur) Mei]]'' ("the sleeping one" in Chinese), [[note]] This led them to believe one has until 2015 detained the record of “the shortest-named dino” along with the alvarezsaurid ''Kol'' and the sauropod ''Zby'' - the former record-holders were the Australian ankylosaur ''Minmi'' and the oviraptorosaur ''Khaan'', the current one is the scansoriopterygid ''Yi'' (see below) [[/note]] and, naturally, the ever-present ''Microraptor''.[[note]] Note, however, that it may fossils of ''Incisivosaurus'' and ''Mei'' have had a venomous bite. For bonus points, they not yet been found what appeared to be a venom sac meant to pump preserving soft tissues, unlike the venom into other dinosaurs listed here. Nonetheless, being maniraptors, they almost certainly had feathers. Also, ''Microraptor'' is known from a younger formation than the prey item's body. As other dinosaurs mentioned here. Finally, some think that ''Incisivosaurus'' (known only from a skull) may be the same as ''Protarchaeopteryx'' (known from a skeleton with a badly damaged skull).[[/note]] In “Dino-Birds”, Nigel Marven makes a TimeTravel to the Cretaceous China to save some ''Microraptor''s from extinction; before ending the mission, he encounters several ''Mei'' (referred to by their whole scientific name: ''Mei long'', lit. "sleeping dragon") apparently sleeping in the same bird-like position in which the type specimen was found fossilized (they were actually dead), while the other ''Mei long'' act as the “danger of the forest”, and to fit their fearsome better role, are [[RuleOfCool awesome]] as this theory was, it was [[ScienceMarchesOn shot down]] after merely a year of being put forward. But that doesn't make it's actual hunting strategy any less awesome; ''Sinornithosaurus'' was likely the one raptor that most resembled modern [[NobleBirdOfPrey raptors]]. It is believed to have been a predator that spent much of its time in the trees, [[DeathFromAbove launching attacks on small animals from above]]. Another interesting thing about ''Sinornithosaurus'' is that, like ''Anchiornis'' below, its colors have actually been discovered; ''Sinornithosaurus'' would likely have been [[AmazingTechnicolorWildlife brightly adorned]] [[RedAndBlackAndEvilAllOver with varying shades of orange, red, yellow, black oversized]] [[ArtisticLicensePaleontology and grey]].
lack feathers]].



'''Colorful little guy:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchiornis Anchiornis]]''

* Still another, just as extraordinary Liaoning discovery has come in 2009 from Jurassic rocks: ''Anchiornis huxleyi'' (literally “Huxley's near bird”). This pigeon-sized troodontid or similar form has often been referenced as the smallest non-avian dinosaur known, but this record is actually contended by other theropods, for example another Liaoning troodontid found in 2013, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eosinopteryx Eosinopteryx]]'' -- which is interesting also because it uniquely has not any sickle-claw in its foot. Recently, these two animals are put in their own family, Anchiornithidae, together with ''Pedopenna'' and some other animals mentioned in UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds. The great interest surrounding ''Anchiornis'' is due to another detail: it has, amazingly, preserved not only its whole plumage, but ''even the original colors''. Since colors have almost never preserved in vertebrate fossil record, it’s easy to understand the extraordinariness of such a discovery. Even the aforementioned ''Sinosauropteryx'' and ''Caudipteryx'' have left some traces of color, as did probably other feathered dinosaur fossils, such as the basal bird ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds Confuciusornis]]'' and the aforementioned dromaeosaurid ''Sinornithosaurus''. Still, ''Anchiornis'' remains the most well-preserved, and it is almost the only non-avian dinosaur whose precise appearance is known with a reasonable degree of sureness. ''However'', since fossilization processes often change the original patterns of live animals, the ''true'' colors of ''Anchiornis'', ''Sinornithosaurus'', and so on could possibly have faded or even changed a fair bit in 160 million years. We may never know how close our restorations are.

to:

'''Colorful little guy:''' ''[[http://en.'''Cross between Archaeopteryx and Velociraptor?''' the "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchiornis Anchiornis]]''

org/wiki/Archaeoraptor Archaeoraptor]]" fake


* Still another, just as extraordinary Liaoning discovery has come We've already talked about ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Microraptor]]'' in 2009 from Jurassic rocks: ''Anchiornis huxleyi'' (literally “Huxley's near bird”). This pigeon-sized troodontid or similar form has often been referenced as the smallest non-avian dinosaur known, but this record is actually contended by Stock Dinosaurs page; here we can add some other theropods, for example another Liaoning troodontid found in 2013, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eosinopteryx Eosinopteryx]]'' -- which is informations about it. Over the years, several interesting also because it uniquely has not any sickle-claw in its foot. Recently, these two animals are put in their own family, Anchiornithidae, together with ''Pedopenna'' and some other animals mentioned in UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds. The great interest surrounding ''Anchiornis'' is due to another detail: it has, amazingly, preserved not only its whole plumage, but ''even the original colors''. Since colors have almost never preserved in vertebrate fossil record, it’s easy to understand the extraordinariness specimens of such a discovery. Even the aforementioned ''Sinosauropteryx'' and ''Caudipteryx'' have left some traces of color, as did probably other feathered this dinosaur fossils, such as have been found. One of these was originally named ''Cryptovolans'' ("hidden flyer") in 2002 and thought to be different from ''Microraptor'' due to a few seemingly unique features (a longer tail, for example). Further work showed that they are all present in ''Microraptor'', and so "''Cryptovolans''" fell into disuse. A specimen announced in 2011 provides a clue to its diet: this one seems to preserve the basal remains of an [[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds enantiornithine bird]] in its stomach. A specimen published in 2013 shows it ate fish. As remarkable as those stories are, they don't come even close to a 2012 study carried out on one specimen. This study showed that its feathers were likely iridescent in color, troubling a previous suggestion it was nocturnal. But there is another, even more striking story to be told about ''Microraptor''. Before being discovered properly, the tail of one specimen had been mixed with the front end of a true bird found in Liaoning, ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds Confuciusornis]]'' and Yanornis]]''; the aforementioned dromaeosaurid ''Sinornithosaurus''. Still, ''Anchiornis'' remains so-created MixAndMatchCritter was published in media as a new kind of bird-dinosaur, “''Archaeoraptor''” ("ancient plunderer"), but this hoax was exposed after qualified scientists studied the most well-preserved, and it is almost specimen -- in fact the only non-avian dinosaur whose precise appearance world-''in''famous article that published the fake was so hastily put-together, they didn't even ''bother'' to check if it was a true fossil or not... leading to one of the biggest controversies of modern paleontology. But although “''Archaeoraptor''” itself didn't exist, its tail belonged to a real animal, one that redefined our understanding of dinosaurs even more than an actual “''Archaeoraptor''” would have. This is known with a reasonable degree of sureness. ''However'', since fossilization processes an often change overlooked detail, especially by creationists and conspiracy theorists who still can't let go of the original patterns of live animals, the ''true'' colors of ''Anchiornis'', ''Sinornithosaurus'', and so on could possibly have faded or even changed a fair bit in 160 million years. We may never know how close our restorations are.
controversy.



'''When dinosaurs went up trees:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scansoriopteryx Scansoriopteryx]]'' & ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidexipteryx Epidexipteryx]]''

* Scansoriopterygids ("climbing wings") were pigeon-sized animals from the latest part of the Middle Jurassic (although some thought they were as young as the Early Cretaceous). They had a body-plan apt for climbing, similar to ''Microraptor'', or rather, even more specialized; they had forelimbs longer than their hindlimbs. First discovered in 2002, they have been found with feather prints around their body like many other chinese coelurosaurs, but their placement within the phylogenetic tree is fairly uncertain. Most early analyses place them as early birds, but they could very easily be early relatives of deinonychosaurs & birds or even early oviraptorosaurs. Before 2015, only juvenile specimens are known from the few species of scansoriopterygids described, and some of their peculiar traits described above might just be juvenile-related and were lost in adults. The tiny ''Epidexipteryx'' found in Inner Mongolia (which once contended the “smallest non-avian dinosaur” record with ''Anchiornis''), and the namesake ''Scansoriopteryx'' (the first-found one, this time in Liaoning) were the only two species recognized for a long time: a third genus, "Epidendrosaurus" ("lizard on the trees"), has been synonymized with ''Scansoriopteryx'', and there are those who still prefer that name. But see below.

to:

'''When dinosaurs went up trees:''' '''Venomous bite?:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scansoriopteryx Scansoriopteryx]]'' & ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidexipteryx Epidexipteryx]]''

org/wiki/Sinornithosaurus Sinornithosaurus]]''

* Scansoriopterygids ("climbing wings") were pigeon-sized Yet another feathered, gliding maniraptor from China, ''Sinornithosaurus'' ("chinese bird-lizard") could be described as the''Microraptor's'' DarkerAndEdgier cousin. A noteworthy controversy surrounding ''Sinornithosaurus'' was the idea that it may have been ''venomous''. Upon its discovery, people had noticed a series of grooves running down its fang-like teeth, which bore a strong resemblance to those of the venomous Gila monster lizard. This led them to believe that it may have had a venomous bite. For bonus points, they found what appeared to be a venom sac meant to pump the venom into the prey item's body. As [[RuleOfCool awesome]] as this theory was, it was [[ScienceMarchesOn shot down]] after merely a year of being put forward. But that doesn't make it's actual hunting strategy any less awesome; ''Sinornithosaurus'' was likely the one raptor that most resembled modern [[NobleBirdOfPrey raptors]]. It is believed to have been a predator that spent much of its time in the trees, [[DeathFromAbove launching attacks on small animals from the latest part of the Middle Jurassic (although some thought they were as young as the Early Cretaceous). They had a body-plan apt for climbing, similar to ''Microraptor'', or rather, even more specialized; they had forelimbs longer than their hindlimbs. First discovered in 2002, they above]]. Another interesting thing about ''Sinornithosaurus'' is that, like ''Anchiornis'' below, its colors have actually been discovered; ''Sinornithosaurus'' would likely have been found [[AmazingTechnicolorWildlife brightly adorned]] [[RedAndBlackAndEvilAllOver with feather prints around their body like many other chinese coelurosaurs, but their placement within the phylogenetic tree is fairly uncertain. Most early analyses place them as early birds, but they could very easily be early relatives varying shades of deinonychosaurs & birds or even early oviraptorosaurs. Before 2015, only juvenile specimens are known from the few species of scansoriopterygids described, orange, red, yellow, black and some of their peculiar traits described above might just be juvenile-related and were lost in adults. The tiny ''Epidexipteryx'' found in Inner Mongolia (which once contended the “smallest non-avian dinosaur” record with ''Anchiornis''), and the namesake ''Scansoriopteryx'' (the first-found one, this time in Liaoning) were the only two species recognized for a long time: a third genus, "Epidendrosaurus" ("lizard on the trees"), has been synonymized with ''Scansoriopteryx'', and there are those who still prefer that name. But see below.
grey]].



'''Feathered dragon or bat-bird?:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_%28dinosaur%29 Yi]]''

* Formally described on April 29 2015 ([[OlderThanTheyThink though originally discovered in 2007]]), ''Yi'' is one of the most recent finds from China (not Liaoning but the Hebei province), and surely the most exciting one. And not merely because it has currently the shortest scientific name of any dinosaur, both if you count the ''genus'' name alone and the ''genus+species'' names together: ''Yi qi'' (lit. "strange wing"), which sounds like "ee chee". This scansoriopterygid was discovered to have had long, leathery batlike wings stretched out along its extremely long fingers, as well as a new bone that likely supported most of the wing. This new bone was much longer than most of its arm, far too long to just be a broken ulna, meaning that this unique wing structure was the real deal. As a result, this little guy was likely the triumphant example of the DinosaursAreDragons trope, resembling something of a tiny feathered wyvern. Significantly, these [[http://theropoda.blogspot.it/2008/10/super-theropod-week-part-1.html membraneous wings were predicted to be present on other scansoriopterygids]](it is possible that ''Epidexipteryx'' and ''Scansoriopteryx'' had membraneous wings also) years before ''Yi'' was described. It has been theorized that ''Yi qi'' represented an alternate path in theropod evolution that developed skinny, batlike wings instead of long feathery ones. Had this kind of flight proven to be more effective for theropods than the feathers, birds could very well have evolved [[WhatCouldHaveBeen to look something like living dragons]].

to:

'''Feathered dragon or bat-bird?:''' '''Colorful little guy:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_%28dinosaur%29 Yi]]''

org/wiki/Anchiornis Anchiornis]]''

* Formally described on April 29 2015 ([[OlderThanTheyThink though originally discovered in 2007]]), ''Yi'' is one of the most recent finds from China (not Still another, just as extraordinary Liaoning discovery has come in 2009 from Jurassic rocks: ''Anchiornis huxleyi'' (literally “Huxley's near bird”). This pigeon-sized troodontid or similar form has often been referenced as the smallest non-avian dinosaur known, but the Hebei province), and surely the most exciting one. And not merely this record is actually contended by other theropods, for example another Liaoning troodontid found in 2013, ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eosinopteryx Eosinopteryx]]'' -- which is interesting also because it uniquely has currently not any sickle-claw in its foot. Recently, these two animals are put in their own family, Anchiornithidae, together with ''Pedopenna'' and some other animals mentioned in UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds. The great interest surrounding ''Anchiornis'' is due to another detail: it has, amazingly, preserved not only its whole plumage, but ''even the shortest scientific name of any dinosaur, both if you count the ''genus'' name alone and the ''genus+species'' names together: ''Yi qi'' (lit. "strange wing"), which sounds like "ee chee". This scansoriopterygid was discovered to original colors''. Since colors have had long, leathery batlike wings stretched out along its extremely long fingers, as well as a new bone that likely supported most of almost never preserved in vertebrate fossil record, it’s easy to understand the wing. This new bone was much longer than most extraordinariness of its arm, far too long to just be such a broken ulna, meaning that this unique wing structure was discovery. Even the real deal. As a result, this little guy was likely the triumphant example aforementioned ''Sinosauropteryx'' and ''Caudipteryx'' have left some traces of the DinosaursAreDragons trope, resembling something of a tiny color, as did probably other feathered wyvern. Significantly, these [[http://theropoda.blogspot.it/2008/10/super-theropod-week-part-1.html membraneous wings were predicted to be present on other scansoriopterygids]](it is possible that ''Epidexipteryx'' dinosaur fossils, such as the basal bird ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeBirds Confuciusornis]]'' and ''Scansoriopteryx'' had membraneous wings also) years before ''Yi'' was described. It has been theorized that ''Yi qi'' represented an alternate path in theropod evolution that developed skinny, batlike wings instead of long feathery ones. Had this kind of flight proven to be more effective for theropods than the feathers, birds aforementioned dromaeosaurid ''Sinornithosaurus''. Still, ''Anchiornis'' remains the most well-preserved, and it is almost the only non-avian dinosaur whose precise appearance is known with a reasonable degree of sureness. ''However'', since fossilization processes often change the original patterns of live animals, the ''true'' colors of ''Anchiornis'', ''Sinornithosaurus'', and so on could very well possibly have evolved [[WhatCouldHaveBeen to look something like living dragons]].
faded or even changed a fair bit in 160 million years. We may never know how close our restorations are.



[[/folder]]

[[folder:Therizinosaurs]]

to:

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Therizinosaurs]]
'''When dinosaurs went up trees:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scansoriopteryx Scansoriopteryx]]'' & ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidexipteryx Epidexipteryx]]''

* Scansoriopterygids ("climbing wings") were pigeon-sized animals from the latest part of the Middle Jurassic (although some thought they were as young as the Early Cretaceous). They had a body-plan apt for climbing, similar to ''Microraptor'', or rather, even more specialized; they had forelimbs longer than their hindlimbs. First discovered in 2002, they have been found with feather prints around their body like many other chinese coelurosaurs, but their placement within the phylogenetic tree is fairly uncertain. Most early analyses place them as early birds, but they could very easily be early relatives of deinonychosaurs & birds or even early oviraptorosaurs. Before 2015, only juvenile specimens are known from the few species of scansoriopterygids described, and some of their peculiar traits described above might just be juvenile-related and were lost in adults. The tiny ''Epidexipteryx'' found in Inner Mongolia (which once contended the “smallest non-avian dinosaur” record with ''Anchiornis''), and the namesake ''Scansoriopteryx'' (the first-found one, this time in Liaoning) were the only two species recognized for a long time: a third genus, "Epidendrosaurus" ("lizard on the trees"), has been synonymized with ''Scansoriopteryx'', and there are those who still prefer that name. But see below.



'''Mix and Match Critter:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segnosaurus Segnosaurus]]''

* Most dinosaurs would appear as a bunch of MixAndMatchCritters if alive today, with traits resembling those of mammals, bird, and crocodiles. But the MixAndMatchCritter trope can also be applied in a more subtle way. Some relatively unknown dinos actually resembled strange mixes of StockDinosaurs, rather than modern animals. ''Segnosaurus'' used to be the best example of this in the recent past. When its incomplete remains [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_therizinosaur_research were discovered in the 1970s]], hailing from Late Cretaceous Mongolia like the original limbs of ''Deinocheirus'', this 24 ft/7 m long dinosaur made the scientists' eyes roll in their sockets: how could a dinosaur have the body-shape of a prosauropod, the forelimbs of a theropod, and an ''Iguanodon''-like skull with a round bill at the front and grinding teeth behind? And, even though its pelvis was clearly saurischian in its overall structure, why did it have the pubis uniquely pointing ''backwards''? Taxonomists were totally confused, and placed ''Segnosaurus'' in its own group: the Segnosauria, along with three other less-known even more incomplete relatives (''Erlikosaurus'', ''Nanshiungosaurus'', and the meaningfully-named ''Enigmosaurus''), also Late Cretaceous and found in the same years of ''Segnosaurus'' in Mongolia or in China. Segnosaurians were believed a separate evolutive branch which arose early in dino-evolution, and were classified in between theropods and sauropodomorphs, sauropodomorphs and ornithischians or sometimes even saurischians and ornithischians. ScienceMarchesOn, however, and at the beginning of the 1990s, a much smaller relative, the 12 ft/3.5 m long ''Alxasaurus'' (from Early Cretaceous China) clearly showed a coelurosaurian anatomy. This meant that segnosaurs were not only true theropods, but also members of the Maniraptoriformes. Not only this: thanks to a more accurate comparison, it was discovered that the enigmatic ''Therizinosaurus'' was another member of the same group (this had already been postulated before the nineties, but was still not demonstrable at the time). Today, ''Therizinosaurus'', being [[RuleOfCool far cooler-looking]], is much more frequent in books than ''Segnosaurus'', and the whole group is officially named Therizinosauria in taxonomy. ''Therizinosaurus'' too has had its own ScienceMarchesOn story, totally independent from that of ''Segnosaurus'', and more similar to that of ''Deinocheirus''. We'll get to that [[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs here]]. The diet of ''Segnosaurus'' used to be just [[WildMassGuessing as problematic as its classification]]. One early theory made it a ''fish-eater'' like ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Baryonyx]]'' and ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Spinosaurus]]'', but slippery fish could have easily escaped from its round beak, and the theory was rapidly discarded. However, some paintings made in the eighties have shown ''Segnosaurus'' as a semi-acquatic fisher even with ''webbed feet'' (the last thing was based on alleged footprints). Indeed, the segnosaur had stockier hindlegs and shorter feet than most other theropods (its name means "slow lizard"), but this doesn't mean it was like a wading bird such as a wild goose or a heron. Another early unlikely hypothesis made segnosaurians ant-eaters and/or termite-eaters because of their large handclaws apparently apt to dig into ant-nests and termite-mounds; but again, these dinosaurs hadn't the typical tubular muzzle of a mammalian anteater, and such large creatures perhaps couldn't have lived on insects alone. Interesting is that even ''Deinocheirus'' and ''Therizinosaurus'' were hypothized to have been "prehistoric anteaters" only because of their big claws. Today, it's generally agreed that ''Segnosaurus'' and the other large therizinosaurians were specialized [[VegetarianCarnivore plant-eating theropods]], strikingly convergent with ornithopods or early sauropodomorphs. This is the best theory also because explains their backward-pointing pubis: its function was probably to give space to the massive gut of a herbivore without losing the bipedality of a theropod.[[note]] Furthermore, other theropods with backward-pointing pubes are also known now, most of which are coelurosaurs, including dromaeosaurids and birds, though these appear to have acquired their backward-pointing pubes through a change regarding which muscles they used for running.[[/note]]. Even though other birdlike theropods (ornithomimids, oviraptorids) could have eaten fruits or other kinds of vegetation, only therizinosaurs appeared specialized to a strict herbivorous diet based upon tree-leaves. If it wasn't for their unmistakeably theropodian forelimbs you could easily confound them with ornithopods like ''Iguanodon'' if they'd be alive today.

to:

'''Mix and Match Critter:''' '''Feathered dragon or bat-bird?:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segnosaurus Segnosaurus]]''

org/wiki/Yi_%28dinosaur%29 Yi]]''

* Most dinosaurs would appear as a bunch of MixAndMatchCritters if alive today, with traits resembling those of mammals, bird, and crocodiles. But the MixAndMatchCritter trope can also be applied in a more subtle way. Some relatively unknown dinos actually resembled strange mixes of StockDinosaurs, rather than modern animals. ''Segnosaurus'' used to be the best example of this in the recent past. When its incomplete remains [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_therizinosaur_research were Formally described on April 29 2015 ([[OlderThanTheyThink though originally discovered in 2007]]), ''Yi'' is one of the 1970s]], hailing most recent finds from Late Cretaceous Mongolia like China (not Liaoning but the original limbs of ''Deinocheirus'', this 24 ft/7 m long dinosaur made Hebei province), and surely the scientists' eyes roll in their sockets: how could a dinosaur have most exciting one. And not merely because it has currently the body-shape shortest scientific name of a prosauropod, any dinosaur, both if you count the forelimbs of a theropod, and an ''Iguanodon''-like skull with a round bill at the front and grinding teeth behind? And, even though its pelvis was clearly saurischian in its overall structure, why did it have the pubis uniquely pointing ''backwards''? Taxonomists were totally confused, and placed ''Segnosaurus'' in its own group: the Segnosauria, along with three other less-known even more incomplete relatives (''Erlikosaurus'', ''Nanshiungosaurus'', ''genus'' name alone and the meaningfully-named ''Enigmosaurus''), also Late Cretaceous and found in the same years of ''Segnosaurus'' in Mongolia or in China. Segnosaurians were believed a separate evolutive branch ''genus+species'' names together: ''Yi qi'' (lit. "strange wing"), which arose early in dino-evolution, and were classified in between theropods and sauropodomorphs, sauropodomorphs and ornithischians or sometimes even saurischians and ornithischians. ScienceMarchesOn, however, and at the beginning of the 1990s, a much smaller relative, the 12 ft/3.5 m long ''Alxasaurus'' (from Early Cretaceous China) clearly showed a coelurosaurian anatomy. sounds like "ee chee". This meant that segnosaurs were not only true theropods, but also members of the Maniraptoriformes. Not only this: thanks to a more accurate comparison, it scansoriopterygid was discovered to have had long, leathery batlike wings stretched out along its extremely long fingers, as well as a new bone that the enigmatic ''Therizinosaurus'' was another member likely supported most of the same group (this had already been postulated before the nineties, but wing. This new bone was still not demonstrable at the time). Today, ''Therizinosaurus'', being [[RuleOfCool far cooler-looking]], is much more frequent in books than ''Segnosaurus'', and the whole group is officially named Therizinosauria in taxonomy. ''Therizinosaurus'' too has had its own ScienceMarchesOn story, totally independent from that of ''Segnosaurus'', and more similar to that of ''Deinocheirus''. We'll get to that [[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs here]]. The diet of ''Segnosaurus'' used to be just [[WildMassGuessing as problematic as its classification]]. One early theory made it a ''fish-eater'' like ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Baryonyx]]'' and ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Spinosaurus]]'', but slippery fish could have easily escaped from its round beak, and the theory was rapidly discarded. However, some paintings made in the eighties have shown ''Segnosaurus'' as a semi-acquatic fisher even with ''webbed feet'' (the last thing was based on alleged footprints). Indeed, the segnosaur had stockier hindlegs and shorter feet longer than most of its arm, far too long to just be a broken ulna, meaning that this unique wing structure was the real deal. As a result, this little guy was likely the triumphant example of the DinosaursAreDragons trope, resembling something of a tiny feathered wyvern. Significantly, these [[http://theropoda.blogspot.it/2008/10/super-theropod-week-part-1.html membraneous wings were predicted to be present on other scansoriopterygids]](it is possible that ''Epidexipteryx'' and ''Scansoriopteryx'' had membraneous wings also) years before ''Yi'' was described. It has been theorized that ''Yi qi'' represented an alternate path in theropod evolution that developed skinny, batlike wings instead of long feathery ones. Had this kind of flight proven to be more effective for theropods (its name means "slow lizard"), but this doesn't mean it was like a wading bird such as a wild goose or a heron. Another early unlikely hypothesis made segnosaurians ant-eaters and/or termite-eaters because of their large handclaws apparently apt to dig into ant-nests and termite-mounds; but again, these dinosaurs hadn't than the typical tubular muzzle of a mammalian anteater, and such large creatures perhaps couldn't have lived on insects alone. Interesting is that even ''Deinocheirus'' and ''Therizinosaurus'' were hypothized to have been "prehistoric anteaters" only because of their big claws. Today, it's generally agreed that ''Segnosaurus'' and the other large therizinosaurians were specialized [[VegetarianCarnivore plant-eating theropods]], strikingly convergent with ornithopods or early sauropodomorphs. This is the best theory also because explains their backward-pointing pubis: its function was probably to give space to the massive gut of a herbivore without losing the bipedality of a theropod.[[note]] Furthermore, other theropods with backward-pointing pubes are also known now, most of which are coelurosaurs, including dromaeosaurids and birds, though these appear to have acquired their backward-pointing pubes through a change regarding which muscles they used for running.[[/note]]. Even though other birdlike theropods (ornithomimids, oviraptorids) feathers, birds could very well have eaten fruits or other kinds of vegetation, only therizinosaurs appeared specialized evolved [[WhatCouldHaveBeen to a strict herbivorous diet based upon tree-leaves. If it wasn't for their unmistakeably theropodian forelimbs you could easily confound them with ornithopods look something like ''Iguanodon'' if they'd be alive today.
living dragons]].



'''Converted to Veganism:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothronychus Nothronychus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alxasaurus Alxasaurus]]'' & ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcarius Falcarius]]''

* Today, therizinosaurs (or segnosaurs if you're more traditional) are a better-known group than in the past, but still with few kind described, both large and small. Among the large ones (all Late Cretaceous), most have been found in Asia, just like ''Segnosaurus'' and ''Therizinosaurus'': examples are the aforementioned ''Enigmosaurus'' and ''Erlikosaurus'' from Mongolia and ''Nanshiungosaurus'' from China. Only one large-sized therizinosaur is known so far from North America: ''Nothronychus'' ("sloth-claw"). Found in 2001, this one lived at the start of the Late Cretaceous, before the most-famous North American herbivores like the ceratopsids and the hadrosaurs: competition with them could have led it to its early extinction. ''Nothronychus'' is notable for its long slim neck, and like the other segnosaurs it's often depicted in a semierect posture, unlike most non-bird theropods which were more horizontally-bodied. Note that modern birds also can keep their bodies more or less upright according to the species -- think about the difference between an ostrich, a chicken, a goose, and a penguin, or also between an eagle and an owl. Among small therizinosaurs (all Early Cretaceous), other than ''Alxasaurus'' and the smaller ''Beipiaosaurus'' found in Liaoning, worthy of note is the North American ''Falcarius'' -- found in 2005, this one has left us with a whole graveyard containing ''hundreds'' of specimens. While the first two were rather evolved and shared typical therizinosaurian traits, ''Falcarius'' (the "scythe-bearer") has a slender structure more similar to a typical coelurosaur and was perhaps omnivorous. Maybe the most ancient therizinosaur is ''Eshanosaurus'' from the Early Jurassic of China, but its collocation in this group is highly controversial, and it may be a sauropod relative instead.

----


Added DiffLines:



[[folder:''Deinocheirus'']]

to:

[[folder:''Deinocheirus'']]
[[folder:Therizinosaurs]]



'''A (very) big dinosaur mistery resolved at last:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinocheirus Deinocheirus]]''

* Most bird-like dinosaurs were small and unimpressive in RealLife compared to most other dinosaurs. This definitively couldn’t be said for the following examples: ''Deinocheirus'', ''Segnosaurus'', ''Therizinosaurus'', and ''Gigantoraptor'', all living in Late Cretaceous Mongolia. These are indeed among the largest known theropods, and, and the same time, are (or have traditionally been) among the most mysterious. Let's start with ''Deinocheirus mirificus'' (“astounding terrible hands”, not to be confused with ''Deinonychus antirrhopus'', “counterbalanced terrible claw”). It was discovered in the 1970s in the Gobi Desert during an unusually rainy day for such an arid location, by the same Polish expedition that found the Protoceratops/Velociraptor fossilized battle and many other dinosaurs. Only its complete forelimbs were found by the scientists, along with shoulder-blades and some other fragments from the rest of the skeleton. The leading scientist of the expedition, Halska Osmolska, noted that these forelimbs were similar in shape to those of an ornithomimid… only, they were ''[[CreepilyLongArms twice the height of a fully grown human]]''. To give you an idea of the scale, several drawings have then shown these immense “arms” encircling an adult man, with the three-fingered hands (each as wide as a TV-set) shown like they’re going to grasp and then lift him. The drawings usually don’t show the whole body, because its shape was totally unknown. After the discovery, a veritable WildMassGuessing started to understand what sort of thing ''Deinocheirus'' looked in life. Just as an example, some thought it had forelimbs longer than the hindlimbs: but this wasn't so, since this would have forced the animal to walk on four legs -- an impossibility, since its hands were inapt for walking. We now know ''Deinocheirus'' had the same bipedal body shape of the classic ornithomimids. Speculations about its size [[WildMassGuessing abunded as well]]. If its forelimbs had the same proportions of a ''Gallimimus'', then ''Deinocheirus'' could have been bigger than a T.rex, and as long as a ''Spinosaurus'' -- and even taller, thanks to the longer neck. It was even said that [[UpToEleven it could reach the fifth story of a building]] if alive today, and could have weighed as much as ''two elephants'', that is to say, two ''[[TyrannosaurusRex T. rex]]''es. But most experts didn’t agree with these extreme ideas, and put ''Deinocheirus'' in the same size-range as ''Tyrannosaurus'' or ''Allosaurus''. Moreover, being an ornithomimosaur, it was imagined rather slender-framed, and thus unlikely that was as heavy as two elephants: perhaps even lighter than ''T.rex''. And then, there has been all the speculation about its way-of-life. Early reports described it as a gigantic and fearsome predator, but such an image was usually believed highly unlikely. Scientists didn't know if ''Deinocheirus'' was a basal toothed ornithomimosaur or a derived toothless ornithomimid, but if the first was true, it could have been an active hunter, and someone could have even imagined titanic battles againts the contemporaneous ''T. rex'' relative ''Tarbosaurus'' or even ''Therizinosaurus''. But even with sharp-toothed jaws, ''Deinocheirus'' shouldn’t be seen as such a powerful killer. Its jaws and teeth would be much smaller and weaker than tyrannosaurs', carnosaurs', or even spinosaurids'. Furthermore, its claws are too blunt to be able to rip the tough skin of a hadrosaur or a sauropod. The main consensus was ''Deinocheirus'' was a sort of giant omnivore, which could have eaten from tree-tops using its forelimbs to pull down branches, and at the same time could have scavenged carrion of large herbivores, destroyed termite-mounds, hunted small dinosaurs that could be swallowed whole, and maybe chased ''Tarbosaurus'' away from their kills using its “terrible hands” as a scaring device. To resolve the mystery, dino-fans patiently waited for a complete ''Deinocheirus'' skeleton for many, many years. Material described in 2012 was a step in the right direction: this shows that the original carcass was scavenged by ''Tarbosaurus''. But in the 2013, after 40 years of waiting or so, the so-much attended answers arrived at last. Two ''almost-complete'' specimens of ''Deinocheirus'' were found near the original one (they weren't found by the Polish scientists by misfortune). This new material confirmed and debunked all the hyps above: ''Deinocheirus'' was really an ornithomimosaur, but displays a feature unknown in any other birdlike theropod: a sail that peaks over the hips, similar to that of the carnosaur ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeLargeTheropods Concavenator]]''. In 2014, its skull was found, which resembled that of the duckbilled hadrosaurs but with no teeth. In the same year, [[http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature13874.html new]] evidence emerged revealing that ''Deinocheirus'' had a thicker lower jaw than previously thought and fish remains were discovered in one specimen's stomach. This suggests that ''Deinocheirus'' was an omnivore that mostly fed on ground level and aquatic vegetation and also ate small animals when it could. ''Deinocheirus'', in addition, became the largest dinosaur with evidence of feathers, as its tail showed pygostyles where feathers were attached, proving size did not rule out feathers -- After all, modern elephants rhinos & hippos do have hair just like every other land mammal. Also it was revealed that ''Beishanlong'' and ''Garudimimus'' were the closest relatives of ''Deinocheirus'' (forming the family Deinocheridae, whose ''Deinocheirus'' was originally believed the only member), thus putting the latter very close to true ornithomimids in the evolutionary tree. Described as recently as in October 2014, the two new specimen were slightly bigger than the original one, and indicate that ''Deinocheirus'' actually was one of the biggest and tallest theropods ever: about 6-7 tons (like a big ''T.rex''), more robust than typical ornithomimosaurians, and one of the biggest animals of its fauna (the weight of a small titanosaurian sauropod), thus outweighing and outmighting its potential predator ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeLargeTheropods Tarbosaurus]]''. In short, ''Deinocheirus'' instantly went from being one of the biggest paleontological mysteries of the twentieth century to an animal whose appearance and lifestyle are well understood.

to:

'''A (very) big dinosaur mistery resolved at last:''' '''Mix and Match Critter:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinocheirus Deinocheirus]]''

org/wiki/Segnosaurus Segnosaurus]]''

* Most bird-like dinosaurs would appear as a bunch of MixAndMatchCritters if alive today, with traits resembling those of mammals, bird, and crocodiles. But the MixAndMatchCritter trope can also be applied in a more subtle way. Some relatively unknown dinos actually resembled strange mixes of StockDinosaurs, rather than modern animals. ''Segnosaurus'' used to be the best example of this in the recent past. When its incomplete remains [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_therizinosaur_research were small and unimpressive discovered in RealLife compared to most other dinosaurs. This definitively couldn’t be said for the following examples: 1970s]], hailing from Late Cretaceous Mongolia like the original limbs of ''Deinocheirus'', ''Segnosaurus'', this 24 ft/7 m long dinosaur made the scientists' eyes roll in their sockets: how could a dinosaur have the body-shape of a prosauropod, the forelimbs of a theropod, and an ''Iguanodon''-like skull with a round bill at the front and grinding teeth behind? And, even though its pelvis was clearly saurischian in its overall structure, why did it have the pubis uniquely pointing ''backwards''? Taxonomists were totally confused, and placed ''Segnosaurus'' in its own group: the Segnosauria, along with three other less-known even more incomplete relatives (''Erlikosaurus'', ''Nanshiungosaurus'', and the meaningfully-named ''Enigmosaurus''), also Late Cretaceous and found in the same years of ''Segnosaurus'' in Mongolia or in China. Segnosaurians were believed a separate evolutive branch which arose early in dino-evolution, and were classified in between theropods and sauropodomorphs, sauropodomorphs and ornithischians or sometimes even saurischians and ornithischians. ScienceMarchesOn, however, and at the beginning of the 1990s, a much smaller relative, the 12 ft/3.5 m long ''Alxasaurus'' (from Early Cretaceous China) clearly showed a coelurosaurian anatomy. This meant that segnosaurs were not only true theropods, but also members of the Maniraptoriformes. Not only this: thanks to a more accurate comparison, it was discovered that the enigmatic ''Therizinosaurus'' was another member of the same group (this had already been postulated before the nineties, but was still not demonstrable at the time). Today, ''Therizinosaurus'', being [[RuleOfCool far cooler-looking]], is much more frequent in books than ''Segnosaurus'', and ''Gigantoraptor'', all living in Late Cretaceous Mongolia. These are indeed among the largest known theropods, and, and the same time, are (or have traditionally been) among the most mysterious. Let's start with ''Deinocheirus mirificus'' (“astounding terrible hands”, not to be confused with ''Deinonychus antirrhopus'', “counterbalanced terrible claw”). It was discovered in the 1970s in the Gobi Desert during an unusually rainy day for such an arid location, by the same Polish expedition that found the Protoceratops/Velociraptor fossilized battle and many other dinosaurs. Only its complete forelimbs were found by the scientists, along with shoulder-blades and some other fragments from the rest of the skeleton. The leading scientist of the expedition, Halska Osmolska, noted that these forelimbs were similar in shape to those of an ornithomimid… only, they were ''[[CreepilyLongArms twice the height of a fully grown human]]''. To give you an idea of the scale, several drawings have then shown these immense “arms” encircling an adult man, with the three-fingered hands (each as wide as a TV-set) shown like they’re going to grasp and then lift him. The drawings usually don’t show the whole body, group is officially named Therizinosauria in taxonomy. ''Therizinosaurus'' too has had its own ScienceMarchesOn story, totally independent from that of ''Segnosaurus'', and more similar to that of ''Deinocheirus''. We'll get to that [[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs here]]. The diet of ''Segnosaurus'' used to be just [[WildMassGuessing as problematic as its classification]]. One early theory made it a ''fish-eater'' like ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Baryonyx]]'' and ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Spinosaurus]]'', but slippery fish could have easily escaped from its round beak, and the theory was rapidly discarded. However, some paintings made in the eighties have shown ''Segnosaurus'' as a semi-acquatic fisher even with ''webbed feet'' (the last thing was based on alleged footprints). Indeed, the segnosaur had stockier hindlegs and shorter feet than most other theropods (its name means "slow lizard"), but this doesn't mean it was like a wading bird such as a wild goose or a heron. Another early unlikely hypothesis made segnosaurians ant-eaters and/or termite-eaters because its shape was totally unknown. After of their large handclaws apparently apt to dig into ant-nests and termite-mounds; but again, these dinosaurs hadn't the discovery, a veritable WildMassGuessing started to understand what sort typical tubular muzzle of thing a mammalian anteater, and such large creatures perhaps couldn't have lived on insects alone. Interesting is that even ''Deinocheirus'' looked in life. Just as an example, some thought it had forelimbs longer than the hindlimbs: but this wasn't so, since this would have forced the animal to walk on four legs -- an impossibility, since its hands and ''Therizinosaurus'' were inapt for walking. We now know ''Deinocheirus'' had the same bipedal body shape of the classic ornithomimids. Speculations about its size [[WildMassGuessing abunded as well]]. If its forelimbs had the same proportions of a ''Gallimimus'', then ''Deinocheirus'' could hypothized to have been bigger than a T.rex, "prehistoric anteaters" only because of their big claws. Today, it's generally agreed that ''Segnosaurus'' and as long as a ''Spinosaurus'' -- and even taller, thanks the other large therizinosaurians were specialized [[VegetarianCarnivore plant-eating theropods]], strikingly convergent with ornithopods or early sauropodomorphs. This is the best theory also because explains their backward-pointing pubis: its function was probably to give space to the longer neck. It was even said that [[UpToEleven it could reach the fifth story massive gut of a building]] if alive today, and could have weighed as much as ''two elephants'', that is to say, two ''[[TyrannosaurusRex T. rex]]''es. But most experts didn’t agree with these extreme ideas, and put ''Deinocheirus'' in herbivore without losing the same size-range as ''Tyrannosaurus'' or ''Allosaurus''. Moreover, being an ornithomimosaur, it was imagined rather slender-framed, and thus unlikely that was as heavy as two elephants: perhaps even lighter than ''T.rex''. And then, there has been all the speculation about its way-of-life. Early reports described it as bipedality of a gigantic and fearsome predator, but such an image was usually believed highly unlikely. Scientists didn't know if ''Deinocheirus'' was a basal toothed ornithomimosaur or a derived toothless ornithomimid, but if the first was true, it could have been an active hunter, and someone could have even imagined titanic battles againts the contemporaneous ''T. rex'' relative ''Tarbosaurus'' or even ''Therizinosaurus''. But even with sharp-toothed jaws, ''Deinocheirus'' shouldn’t be seen as such a powerful killer. Its jaws and teeth would be much smaller and weaker than tyrannosaurs', carnosaurs', or even spinosaurids'. theropod.[[note]] Furthermore, its claws other theropods with backward-pointing pubes are too blunt to be able to rip the tough skin also known now, most of a hadrosaur or a sauropod. The main consensus was ''Deinocheirus'' was a sort of giant omnivore, which are coelurosaurs, including dromaeosaurids and birds, though these appear to have acquired their backward-pointing pubes through a change regarding which muscles they used for running.[[/note]]. Even though other birdlike theropods (ornithomimids, oviraptorids) could have eaten from tree-tops using its fruits or other kinds of vegetation, only therizinosaurs appeared specialized to a strict herbivorous diet based upon tree-leaves. If it wasn't for their unmistakeably theropodian forelimbs to pull down branches, and at the same time you could have scavenged carrion of large herbivores, destroyed termite-mounds, hunted small dinosaurs that could be swallowed whole, and maybe chased ''Tarbosaurus'' away from their kills using its “terrible hands” as a scaring device. To resolve the mystery, dino-fans patiently waited for a complete ''Deinocheirus'' skeleton for many, many years. Material described in 2012 was a step in the right direction: this shows that the original carcass was scavenged by ''Tarbosaurus''. But in the 2013, after 40 years of waiting or so, the so-much attended answers arrived at last. Two ''almost-complete'' specimens of ''Deinocheirus'' were found near the original one (they weren't found by the Polish scientists by misfortune). This new material confirmed and debunked all the hyps above: ''Deinocheirus'' was really an ornithomimosaur, but displays a feature unknown in any other birdlike theropod: a sail that peaks over the hips, similar to that of the carnosaur ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeLargeTheropods Concavenator]]''. In 2014, its skull was found, which resembled that of the duckbilled hadrosaurs but easily confound them with no teeth. In the same year, [[http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature13874.html new]] evidence emerged revealing that ''Deinocheirus'' had a thicker lower jaw than previously thought and fish remains were discovered in one specimen's stomach. This suggests that ''Deinocheirus'' was an omnivore that mostly fed on ground level and aquatic vegetation and also ate small animals when it could. ''Deinocheirus'', in addition, became the largest dinosaur with evidence of feathers, as its tail showed pygostyles where feathers were attached, proving size did not rule out feathers -- After all, modern elephants rhinos & hippos do have hair just ornithopods like every other land mammal. Also it was revealed that ''Beishanlong'' and ''Garudimimus'' were the closest relatives of ''Deinocheirus'' (forming the family Deinocheridae, whose ''Deinocheirus'' was originally believed the only member), thus putting the latter very close to true ornithomimids in the evolutionary tree. Described as recently as in October 2014, the two new specimen were slightly bigger than the original one, and indicate that ''Deinocheirus'' actually was one of the biggest and tallest theropods ever: about 6-7 tons (like a big ''T.rex''), more robust than typical ornithomimosaurians, and one of the biggest animals of its fauna (the weight of a small titanosaurian sauropod), thus outweighing and outmighting its potential predator ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeLargeTheropods Tarbosaurus]]''. In short, ''Deinocheirus'' instantly went from being one of the biggest paleontological mysteries of the twentieth century to an animal whose appearance and lifestyle are well understood.
''Iguanodon'' if they'd be alive today.



'''Converted to Veganism:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothronychus Nothronychus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alxasaurus Alxasaurus]]'' & ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcarius Falcarius]]''

* Today, therizinosaurs (or segnosaurs if you're more traditional) are a better-known group than in the past, but still with few kind described, both large and small. Among the large ones (all Late Cretaceous), most have been found in Asia, just like ''Segnosaurus'' and ''Therizinosaurus'': examples are the aforementioned ''Enigmosaurus'' and ''Erlikosaurus'' from Mongolia and ''Nanshiungosaurus'' from China. Only one large-sized therizinosaur is known so far from North America: ''Nothronychus'' ("sloth-claw"). Found in 2001, this one lived at the start of the Late Cretaceous, before the most-famous North American herbivores like the ceratopsids and the hadrosaurs: competition with them could have led it to its early extinction. ''Nothronychus'' is notable for its long slim neck, and like the other segnosaurs it's often depicted in a semierect posture, unlike most non-bird theropods which were more horizontally-bodied. Note that modern birds also can keep their bodies more or less upright according to the species -- think about the difference between an ostrich, a chicken, a goose, and a penguin, or also between an eagle and an owl. Among small therizinosaurs (all Early Cretaceous), other than ''Alxasaurus'' and the smaller ''Beipiaosaurus'' found in Liaoning, worthy of note is the North American ''Falcarius'' -- found in 2005, this one has left us with a whole graveyard containing ''hundreds'' of specimens. While the first two were rather evolved and shared typical therizinosaurian traits, ''Falcarius'' (the "scythe-bearer") has a slender structure more similar to a typical coelurosaur and was perhaps omnivorous. Maybe the most ancient therizinosaur is ''Eshanosaurus'' from the Early Jurassic of China, but its collocation in this group is highly controversial, and it may be a sauropod relative instead.

----



[[folder:Therizinosaurs]]

----

'''Mix and Match Critter:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segnosaurus Segnosaurus]]''

* Most dinosaurs would appear as a bunch of MixAndMatchCritters if alive today, with traits resembling those of mammals, bird, and crocodiles. But the MixAndMatchCritter trope can also be applied in a more subtle way. Some relatively unknown dinos actually resembled strange mixes of StockDinosaurs, rather than modern animals. ''Segnosaurus'' used to be the best example of this in the recent past. When its incomplete remains [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_therizinosaur_research were discovered in the 1970s]], hailing from Late Cretaceous Mongolia like the original limbs of ''Deinocheirus'', this 24 ft/7 m long dinosaur made the scientists' eyes roll in their sockets: how could a dinosaur have the body-shape of a prosauropod, the forelimbs of a theropod, and an ''Iguanodon''-like skull with a round bill at the front and grinding teeth behind? And, even though its pelvis was clearly saurischian in its overall structure, why did it have the pubis uniquely pointing ''backwards''? Taxonomists were totally confused, and placed ''Segnosaurus'' in its own group: the Segnosauria, along with three other less-known even more incomplete relatives (''Erlikosaurus'', ''Nanshiungosaurus'', and the meaningfully-named ''Enigmosaurus''), also Late Cretaceous and found in the same years of ''Segnosaurus'' in Mongolia or in China. Segnosaurians were believed a separate evolutive branch which arose early in dino-evolution, and were classified in between theropods and sauropodomorphs, sauropodomorphs and ornithischians or sometimes even saurischians and ornithischians. ScienceMarchesOn, however, and at the beginning of the 1990s, a much smaller relative, the 12 ft/3.5 m long ''Alxasaurus'' (from Early Cretaceous China) clearly showed a coelurosaurian anatomy. This meant that segnosaurs were not only true theropods, but also members of the Maniraptoriformes. Not only this: thanks to a more accurate comparison, it was discovered that the enigmatic ''Therizinosaurus'' was another member of the same group (this had already been postulated before the nineties, but was still not demonstrable at the time). Today, ''Therizinosaurus'', being [[RuleOfCool far cooler-looking]], is much more frequent in books than ''Segnosaurus'', and the whole group is officially named Therizinosauria in taxonomy. ''Therizinosaurus'' too has had its own ScienceMarchesOn story, totally independent from that of ''Segnosaurus'', and more similar to that of ''Deinocheirus''. We'll get to that [[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs here]]. The diet of ''Segnosaurus'' used to be just [[WildMassGuessing as problematic as its classification]]. One early theory made it a ''fish-eater'' like ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Baryonyx]]'' and ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Spinosaurus]]'', but slippery fish could have easily escaped from its round beak, and the theory was rapidly discarded. However, some paintings made in the eighties have shown ''Segnosaurus'' as a semi-acquatic fisher even with ''webbed feet'' (the last thing was based on alleged footprints). Indeed, the segnosaur had stockier hindlegs and shorter feet than most other theropods (its name means "slow lizard"), but this doesn't mean it was like a wading bird such as a wild goose or a heron. Another early unlikely hypothesis made segnosaurians ant-eaters and/or termite-eaters because of their large handclaws apparently apt to dig into ant-nests and termite-mounds; but again, these dinosaurs hadn't the typical tubular muzzle of a mammalian anteater, and such large creatures perhaps couldn't have lived on insects alone. Interesting is that even ''Deinocheirus'' and ''Therizinosaurus'' were hypothized to have been "prehistoric anteaters" only because of their big claws. Today, it's generally agreed that ''Segnosaurus'' and the other large therizinosaurians were specialized [[VegetarianCarnivore plant-eating theropods]], strikingly convergent with ornithopods or early sauropodomorphs. This is the best theory also because explains their backward-pointing pubis: its function was probably to give space to the massive gut of a herbivore without losing the bipedality of a theropod.[[note]] Furthermore, other theropods with backward-pointing pubes are also known now, most of which are coelurosaurs, including dromaeosaurids and birds, though these appear to have acquired their backward-pointing pubes through a change regarding which muscles they used for running.[[/note]]. Even though other birdlike theropods (ornithomimids, oviraptorids) could have eaten fruits or other kinds of vegetation, only therizinosaurs appeared specialized to a strict herbivorous diet based upon tree-leaves. If it wasn't for their unmistakeably theropodian forelimbs you could easily confound them with ornithopods like ''Iguanodon'' if they'd be alive today.

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'''Converted to Veganism:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothronychus Nothronychus]]'', ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alxasaurus Alxasaurus]]'' & ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcarius Falcarius]]''

* Today, therizinosaurs (or segnosaurs if you're more traditional) are a better-known group than in the past, but still with few kind described, both large and small. Among the large ones (all Late Cretaceous), most have been found in Asia, just like ''Segnosaurus'' and ''Therizinosaurus'': examples are the aforementioned ''Enigmosaurus'' and ''Erlikosaurus'' from Mongolia and ''Nanshiungosaurus'' from China. Only one large-sized therizinosaur is known so far from North America: ''Nothronychus'' ("sloth-claw"). Found in 2001, this one lived at the start of the Late Cretaceous, before the most-famous North American herbivores like the ceratopsids and the hadrosaurs: competition with them could have led it to its early extinction. ''Nothronychus'' is notable for its long slim neck, and like the other segnosaurs it's often depicted in a semierect posture, unlike most non-bird theropods which were more horizontally-bodied. Note that modern birds also can keep their bodies more or less upright according to the species -- think about the difference between an ostrich, a chicken, a goose, and a penguin, or also between an eagle and an owl. Among small therizinosaurs (all Early Cretaceous), other than ''Alxasaurus'' and the smaller ''Beipiaosaurus'' found in Liaoning, worthy of note is the North American ''Falcarius'' -- found in 2005, this one has left us with a whole graveyard containing ''hundreds'' of specimens. While the first two were rather evolved and shared typical therizinosaurian traits, ''Falcarius'' (the "scythe-bearer") has a slender structure more similar to a typical coelurosaur and was perhaps omnivorous. Maybe the most ancient therizinosaur is ''Eshanosaurus'' from the Early Jurassic of China, but its collocation in this group is highly controversial, and it may be a sauropod relative instead.

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[[folder:''Gigantoraptor'']]

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'''Gigant-[ic] O-[vi]-raptor:''' ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigantoraptor Gigantoraptor]]''

* Most ''Oviraptor'' relatives were small-sized like their group's namesake, except one: ''Gigantoraptor''. Discovered in Asia only in 2007, this dinosaur, despite its name ("gigantic thief"), is ''not'' an overgrown dromaeosaur, but an overgrown oviraptorosaur. ''Gigantoraptor'' was 25ft in length, and the only known skeleton was only a "teenager"; an adult would have been bigger, almost as big as the neighboring tyrannosaur ''Tarbosaurus'', but with the anatomy of the classic oviraptorosaurs. If the oviraptorosaurian way of life has been hard to decipher (consensus seems to have them being originally herbivores, but re-evolving into pure carnivores), imagine what kind of [[WildMassGuessing headscratching]] Gigantoraptor caused. It's all cool, though: three, generally small-sized lineages of non-avian coelurosaurs have a few oversized members within their ranks: ''Deinocheirus'' the giant ornithomimosaur, ''Utahraptor'' the giant dromaeosaur, and ''Gigantoraptor'' [[RuleOfThree the giant oviraptorosaur]]. On the other hand, tyrannosaurs and therizinosaurs include ''many'' gigantic species, while other coelurosaurs, such as the troodonts, have none. But who knows? Maybe one day a “Gigantroodon” would be discovered… Anyway, together ''Deinocheirus'', therizinosaurids & ''Gigantoraptor'' make a strange case: such overgrown birdlike theropods seem an almost only-Asian affair, and nobody knows why similar animals have never been found in North America [[note]]except for the therizinosaur ''Nothronychus''.[[/note]] -- considering the strong similarity of the two faunas in the Late Cretaceous, which should even communicate to each other through the Bering landbridge. Maybe could the competiton with the almost-exclusively American Ceratopsids have prevented North-american maniraptoriformes to reach larger size? [[note]]though even that idea has problems, since we now know that there were a few ceratopsids in Asia.[[/note]] Like ''Therizinosaurus'', only parts of the skeleton of the gigantoraptor is known. While ''Deinocheirus'' was an omnivore, and ''Therizinosaurus'' was a herbivore, ''Gigantoraptor'' has still no consensus regarding its diet. Its close relatives show predatory adaptations and are known to have eaten small prey like lizards, and this is the most likely option so far, but considering that it's another giant freak nobody can be sure. Despite being a very recent find, ''Gigantoraptor'' soon recevied some mild media attention, appearing in paleo-documentaries like ''Series/PlanetDinosaur'' and ''Series/DinosaurRevolution''. While ''Therizinosaurus'' is described in the Stock Dinosaurs page (even though with one asterisk) thanks to the frequency it is shown here and there after being portrayed as the main dino-character of "[[Franchise/WalkingWithDinosaurs Chased by Dinosaurs]]" in 2001, ''Deinocheirus'' and ''Gigantoraptor'' could also nonetheless be placed in the stock dinosaur page if they'll make (as arguable) a noticeable apparition in some popular work in the future; their [[RuleOfCool awesome-sounding names]] could make its role in this.

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