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19 Amaze-wing Facts About The Microraptor For Kids

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You must have studied the evolution of man in Charles Darwin's 'Origin of Species' but have you ever spared a moment to think how the birds evolved? According to scientific research, the modern birds that can commonly be seen today have evolved from flying dinosaurs that dwelled on this planet about hundreds of million years ago. The Microraptor serves as a piece of significant evidence in the study of the evolution of birds from primitive dinosaurs. Many well-preserved fossils of the feathered dinosaur from about 125 - 122 million years ago had been discovered from the Jiufotang Formation located in Liaoning, China. Three species namely M. zhaoianus, M. gui, and M. hanqingi have been classified under the Microraptor genus. In 2003, the Chinese paleontologist named Xu Xing described the original specimen as the 'four-winged dinosaur' and later attributed its identification as the Microraptor. The first and original specimen was constituted by a small-sized individual with some faint traces of feathers. Xing speculated the function of the four limbs in providing the required lift for flying. Some scientists believe that just like a bird, this feathered non-avialan dinosaur could engage in powered flight but this theory is yet to be proved. However, with the excavation of more than 300 fossil remains, this dromaeosaurid falls under one of the most abundant dinosaurs that populated the earth during prehistorical times.

Microraptor Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Microraptor'?

If you are willing to master the perfect pronunciation of the generic name then make it simple for them by breaking it down to 'My-crow-rap-tor'. The generic name has been derived from the combination of the Greek 'mīkros' meaning 'small' and Latin 'raptor' implying 'one who seizes' therefore translating to 'small thief'.

What type of dinosaur was a Microraptor?

The Microraptor is believed to be a dromaeosaurid dinosaur. It is popularly referred to as the 'four-winged dinosaur' due to the traces of extensive feathers that covered its arms and legs.

In which geological period did the Microraptor roam the earth?

The Microraptor could be spotted on the earth if you went back some 125 - 122 million years. The fossil specimens prove that this feathered dinosaur belonged from the Aptian stage of the Early Cretaceous epoch.

When did the Microraptor become extinct?

The Microraptor perished from this earth some 125 - 113 million years ago.

Where did a Microraptor live? 

Microraptor fossil specimens discovered from China clearly show that they resided in the parts of present-day East Asia.

What was a Microraptor's habitat? 

The Early Cretaceous Microraptor was accustomed to terrestrial habitats but it could extract its prey from marine as well as aerial ecosystems.

Who did a Microraptor live with?

The social behavior of the Microraptor couldn't be deciphered so it is knot known for sure if it was comfortable among the other group members or preferred a secluded life.

How long did a Microraptor live?

Scientists and paleontologists haven't yet been able to determine the average life span of the Microraptor due to the lack of relevant research data.

How did they reproduce?

These feathered dinosaurs engaged in oviparous reproduction which means that the female Microraptor laid eggs after copulating with its male counterpart. Specific details about the breeding behavior, age of sexual maturity, courtship rituals, gestation, and incubation periods couldn't be obtained owing to the lack of evidence. Also, scientists couldn't find the Microraptor egg so the clutch size or information about the offspring couldn't be gathered.

Microraptor Fun Facts

What did a Microraptor look like?

The Microraptor exhibited a small size and came with four wings. Similar to a bird, its body was covered with a layer of thick feathers while the tail ended with a fan at the edge shaped like a diamond. Long feathers were present on the legs as well as wings. Xing and his colleagues compared the plumes of its head with that of the Philippine eagle. The bones of the upper arms were peculiarly elongated and it possessed a combination of unserrated and serrated teeth. Scientists could manage to figure out the Microraptor color after analyzing the pigment cells of BMNHC PH881 that displayed several features common to the species. Bands of alternating light and dark patterns were observed on some specimens. The plumage exhibited a glossy iridescent shade of black. Scientists have also suggested that the iridescence of the plumage was perhaps used for sexual displays or communication.

Facts about Microraptor are about four-winged dinosaurs.

We've been unable to source an image of the Microraptor and have used an image of the Velociraptor instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Microraptor, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected].

How many bones did a Microraptor have?

Microraptor fossils discovered from the Jiufotang Formation aided the reconstruction of the dinosaur. The Microraptor skull was missing from the first specimen but innumerable bits and pieces of the bone structure were recovered. Since the Microraptor skeleton remains incomplete, the total number of bones that constitute its entire being couldn't be ascertained. The fossils of the species have been housed and represented in numerous museums across the globe. You can visit the Paleozoological Museum of China to behold the fossils of the Microraptor.

How did they communicate?

The Microraptor engaged in communicating both vocally and visually through multiple gestures and displays. Like every other dinosaur, it emitted various calls and sounds like a form of expression.

How big was a Microraptor? 

The Microraptor size, as its name suggests, was very small. In fact, with an approximate length of 2.53-3.9 ft (77-90 cm), it qualified among the smallest theropod dinosaurs. It was quite minuscule when compared with the Utahraptor measuring around 19.7-23 ft (6-7 m) in length.

How fast could a Microraptor move?

It is believed that the Microraptor was rather clumsy on land particularly due to the presence of feathers on its body. It was not very agile in its terrestrial movements. Did you know that the Microraptor possessed the ability of gliding from tree to tree with the support of its wings?

How much did a Microraptor weigh?

The weight of the Microraptor has been estimated at around 2.2 lb (1 kg) which means that, unlike the Austroraptor that weighed around 201-500 lb (91-227 kg), it was extremely lightweight.

What were the female and male names of the species?

Dinosaurs don't have specific attributions for males and females so in this case, you can regard the species as a male or female Microraptor.

What would you call a baby Microraptor?

You can refer to the baby of the Microraptor as a hatchling or just a young.

What did they eat? 

The stomach contents embedded in the fossils throw light on the Microraptor diet. The fossil specimens show that the dinosaur indulged in a carnivorous diet in which small mammals formed a significant part. Apart from several mammalian bones like sections of the skull and limb, the bones of a bird were also retrieved from its abdominal cavity. In one of the specimens, remains of fish scales were discovered in the abdomen.

How aggressive were they?

As a member of the Dromaeosauridae family, the four-winged Microraptor was capable of some aggression. Perhaps the dinosaur was violent while hunting. Nevertheless, the extent of its aggressiveness remains a mystery. In all probability, it wasn't as ferocious as theropods like the Dakotaraptor who were known for their monstrous rage.

Did you know...

The Microraptor was originally presented before the world under the name of Archaeoraptor. The news made headlines throughout the world due to its fakeness because Archaeoraptor was created out of the Microraptor's tail and a Yanornis' body. In the efforts to do away with the taint of fakeness, paleontologists strove to construct the proper generic representation of the Microraptor. As a result, Xu Xing succeeded in unearthing the well-preserved fossilized slab from the dig site.

Did Microraptor fly or glide?

The possibilities of flight and the techniques implemented by these dinosaurs haven't ceased to interest scientists. The Microraptor could fly but it couldn't engage in prolonged, swift flight like a modern-day eagle or dove. Rather, it could glide across canopies covered with trees throughout China. The use of the four wings, arms, and legs has kept paleontologists wondering whether they could just glide across short distances or if used the biplane method for gliding or projected some other orientation while flying. Since arboreal tendencies were noticed with the species, the Microraptor also might have had some traits of modern birds. For instance, the scleral rings reveal that the dinosaur was nocturnal.

How did the Microraptor survive?

The dietary preferences of the Microraptor were perhaps one of its survival strategies. Despite being an advanced meat-eating dinosaur, the Microraptor incorporated some changes in its diet by preying on both aerial as well as marine animals to avoid fierce competition with other dinosaurs like the Velociraptor hunting in the same ecosystem. Moreover, it could glide through forests or even climb trees to escape from predators. However, many scientists hold that it couldn't engage in running or ground movements because the hindwings reached up to the feet of the animal. It was also pretty challenging for the animal to capture prey with its clawed forelimbs without harming its wing feathers.
We've been unable to source an image of the Microraptor and have used an image of the Velociraptor instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Microraptor, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at [email protected].

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