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Did You Know? 17 Incredible Anchiornis Facts

Anchiornis facts are about this dinosaur that has a meaning of their name, 'near bird'.

Winged dinosaurs are the ancestors of some of the birds that live today. Around 150 million years ago a species of such dinosaurs lived which paved the way for evolution for modern birds. Anchiornis huxleyi is a very small dinosaur that has four wings. They are near birds and were the only species that had feathers on the hind and the crown. Their outer wing primary feather formed a kind of black stripe that looked like an uneven array, forming rows of darker stripes. There are several books written on these dinosaurs, one of them is 'The Wings Of Anchiornis'. A lot of research on them is being done and extremely well-preserved Anchiornis feathers have been found. Their inner wings were more uneven and have various speckles. Their secondary coverts and shanks of the legs were gray and fetch until the long feathers.

These dinosaurs were so well equipped that they had 13 flight feathers anchored to their lower leg, with feathers covering the bases. Their foot feathers were short, contrasting the mainly white color. The wingspan of Anchiornis huxleyi was as big as any other modern bird. Although almost all of their body parts were covered with feathers including the neck, torso, and upper legs. Their wing primary feather coverts turned into shorter feathers covering their underparts of the bases of their other long feathers. Darker dots along the mid-wing and outer wing were also some of the distinguishing signs of this species.

To learn more about such dinosaurs and their modern world descendants, make sure to check out our other articles on Celidosaurus and Changyuraptor.

Anchiornis Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Anchiornis '?

The wings of an Anchiornis huxleyi are very different to modern birds. Their wing feathers are symmetrical and have rounded tips and the coverts are shorter than those of the Microraptor. Nonetheless, their wing size and rounded tips are their unique individuality and you can pronounce these dinosaurs like 'ANCH-ion-RNIS'.

What type of dinosaur was an Anchiornis?

An Anchiornis dinosaur was the size of a chicken and they had very fragile limbs. They were early birds from the Late Jurassic time and they come under the Saurischia clade. These prehistoric animals are known as a genus of Anchiornis and they are paravian dinosaurs.

In which geological period did the Anchiornis roam the earth?

These dinosaurs lived 1 million years ago and had wing feathers. The Anchiornis huxleyi had feathers, mainly white main wings, and their face had rufous speckles. A well-preserved Anchiornis specimen still decorates the National Museum of China. These dinosaurs with rufous speckles among predominantly black feathers on the head lived during the Late Jurassic time.

When did the Anchiornis become extinct?

The main reason for extinction of the Anchiornis huxleyi and other dinosaurs was the asteroid collision and several volcanic eruptions. The temperature on earth at that time was not favorable for providing dinosaurs their desired temperature and living conditions.

Where did an Anchiornis live?

The Anchiornis fossil is recovered from various places in China. They lived in Asia and places such as Hebei in China were their main habitats. This carnivore lived in several areas of Asia in the late Bathonian age, which counts for 150 million years.

What was an Anchiornis's habitat?

The Anchiornis huxleyi is a kind of genus that survived by hunting other smaller birds. It is known that this species lived together in a group in order to remain safe and also hunt better. Their favorable habitat was dense vegetation where small squirrels or birds could be easily found. The Anchiornis huxleyi also ate eggs and tropical and sub-tropical forests in Asia were ideal for their habitat.

Who did an Anchiornis live with?

It's unique and interesting how almost every part of Anchiornis huxleyi tells a story. For instance, a part of their tail bore pennaceous tail feathers, something that was not seen in other such birds. In order to maintain safety and hunt better, this genus of dinosaurs live in a group. Almost all the birds we see today are the descendants 0f this dinosaur. Birds such as the Amazon parrot and carrion crow are some examples.

How long did an Anchiornis live?

The hindwing feathers of these birds are long, whereas when we talk about the foot feathers they are short and directed downward. Studying the Anchiornis skeleton for years reveals that this dinosaur had a lifespan of 10-12 years.

How did they reproduce?

Reproduction among dinosaurs is similar to other birds and reptiles. They used their primary feathers to keep their young warm and save them from predators. They laid eggs and had an average clutch size of two and three eggs.

Anchiornis Fun Facts

What did an Anchiornis look like?

The Anchiornis color is a subject of interest. No two dinosaurs of this family had the fame marking on their primary feathers. Almost the entire head was covered with feathers, as well as almost the entire body. The hindwings of Anchiornis are shorter than other related species. Their face had rufous speckles with predominantly black head feathers. They have darker dots along mid-body. Their wings are relative size and rounded on the tips. Almost all the wing feathers have black tips forming rows of darker and gray dots.

Their structure is bird-like.

How many bones did an Anchiornis have?

The forewing and hind wings of the Anchiornis are white with black tips. Although, the total number of bones is not known for this dinosaur.

How did they communicate?

All dinosaurs are capable of communicating, like current day animals. The Anchiornis communicated through vocals and visual signs in order to communicate among group members. Communication is also very essential while hunting because they also hunted in groups.

How big was an Anchiornis?

These birds have feathers on the hinds and are very small compared to the huge dinosaurs that walked during those times. They are almost equal in size to a prairie chicken. This dinosaur is one of the smallest dinosaurs found with feathers, and they don't grow in size of more than a leghorn chicken.

How fast could an Anchiornis move?

Having a low weight is one of the greatest benefits dinosaurs had during those times as it allowed them to move fast. The Anchiornis was very light, very quick, and could move extremely fast. These are a few factors which made them such great hunters.

How much did an Anchiornis weigh?

The Anchiornis was very light and quick and they weighed roughly equal to a chicken. The exact weight of the Anchiornis was 2.42 lb (1.1 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

Male and female dinosaurs have the same scientific name. They have the same anatomy and are addressed with the same name. Both sexes in this genus family do not have different names.

What would you call a baby Anchiornis?

Anchiornis huxleyi babies are known as a nestlings or hatchlings.

What did they eat?

Modern birds that live on the ground have over time evolved and lost their wings. This behavior can be seen and understood while researching Anchiornis huxleyi. Nonetheless, these modern birds still have several aerodynamic advantages if not more.

How aggressive were they?

They were very aggressive when it came to hunting other small birds. Their wing feathers also played a very important role. They often hunted in groups and also remained in packs.

Did you know...

Modern birds that live on the groundshave over time evolved downwards and lost their wings. This behavior can be seen and understood while researching Anchiornis huxleyi. Nonetheless, these modern birds still have several aerodynamic advantages if not more.

The meaning of their name is 'near bird' because they are very much like current day birds.

When was the Anchiornis discovered?

The Anchiornis were living for a long time, around a million years. However, their discovery was made only recently in 2009. The genus name and the fossil of these birds were recovered in 2009.

Could the Anchiornis fly?

The Anchiornis are some of the earliest discovered dinosaurs that had feathers. Although, it's not surprising for birds to have feathers and still be flightless, like ostrich and rheas. Several dinosaurs had feathers but could not fly. The Anchiornis huxleyi on the other hand had the ability to fly effortlessly because their feathers covered almost the entire body. On a molecular level, this genus of dinosaurs explains the evolution stage among avian flight feathers. This dinosaur was endemic to New Zealand.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our water beetle facts and Atlas beetle facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Anchiornis coloring pages.

Main image by Matt Martyniuk

Second image by Jaime A. Headden

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