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Caudipteryx dongi
"Dong's tail feather"

caudipteryx

Caudipteryx dongi is perhaps the most controversial species of tailfeather. It was named in 2000 for a single specimen lacking a skull, and separated from the better known Caudipteryx zoui because of its small breastbone and some minor proportional differences in the wing and hip bones. However, all Caudipteryx specimens show such minor variation, and it is easier to assume these are due to individual differences and age rather than species differences. Additionally, C. dongi is more similar to C. zoui than either are to the unnamed Caudipteryx species. (For a detailed analysis of these differences, see Mickey Mortimer's Theropod Database).

The reason I've chosen to treat this as a separate species is due to some oddities with its wing feathers. Despite being smaller than both described specimens of C. zoui, it has much longer primary feathers than either. Also, the feathers appear to continue onto the end of the forearm, even when compensating for overlapping left and right wings. It appears that, like most maniraptorans (and like its relative Similicaudipteryx yixianensis), C. dongi had secondary feathers (those veined feathers stemming from the forearm rather than the hand bones). The secondaries even appear to be patterend differently from the primaries in published photographs, posessing distinct bars, like the tail feathers of C. zoui. Such differences in feather anatomy are usually considered enough to separate species, though it is possible some of these differences will be shown to due to poor preservation in the future.

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Image Details:
Media: Digital, Adobe Photoshop CS3 with WACOM Graphire 3
License: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

DESCRIPTION
Length: 70cm (2.3ft)
Weight: 1.5kg (3.3lbs)
Location: Yixian Formation, Liaoning, China
Time: Aptian age, Early Cretaceous (125ma)

CLASSIFICATION
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Stem-Aves
Order: Caenagnathiformes
Family: Caudipteridae
Genus: Caudipteryx
Species: C. dongi

SYSTEMATICS
Sauropsida
Diapsida
Archosauria
Ornithosuchia
Dinosauria
Theropoda
Coelurosauria
Maniraptora
Oviraptorosauria
Caudipteridae

Caudipteryx scale




 

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