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Sinocalliopteryx gigas
"giant Chinese beautiful feather"

similicaudipteryx

Sinocalliopteryx is currently the largest known compsognathids, a family traditionally nkown for being very small among dinosaurs. It was also one of the largest predators in the Yixian formation, outclassed only by Raptorex.

Like its smaller, contemporary relative Sinosauropteryx, the sole described Sinocalliopteryx fossil is preserved with feathers covering much of the body, including part of the metatarsals. Previously, feathers this low on the leg or foot were known only in basal paravian birds. The feathers on the hips, tail and upper leg were particularly long, giving its rump an unusually shaggy appearance. The apparent distribution of feathers in regular 'patches' along the tail reminded me of the stripes found in Sinosauropteryx, so I restored it with a similar pattern, though the actual colors are unknown (see full-body plate below).

The diet, or at least part of it, is known from direct evidence. The Sinocalliopteryx fossil preserved a number of gastroliths in its belly, as well as the partial leg of a (fairly large, for the predator's size) microraptorian. Whether it scaveged this drumstick or actually killed the bird isn't known, but in the profile above I restored it displaying its freshly killed trophy, a juvenile Sinornithosaurus millenii.

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

DESCRIPTION
Length: 2.1m (6.8ft)
Weight: 15kg (33lbs)
Location: Yixian Formation, Liaoning, China
Time: Aptian age, Early Cretaceous (125ma)

CLASSIFICATION
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Stem-Aves
Order: Compsognatha
Family: Compsognathidae
Genus: Sinocalliopteryx
Species: S. gigas

SYSTEMATICS
Sauropsida
Diapsida
Archosauria
Ornithosuchia
Dinosauria
Theropoda
Coelurosauria
Compsognathidae

Sinocalliopteryx scale




 

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