Photo Album – Longipteryx chaoyangensis

Longipteryx chaoyangensis (Zhang, Zhou, Hou & Gu, 2001) was discovered in the Yixian Formation at Chaoyang in Liaoning Province, China. It dates to the Cretaceous Early Barremian, making it about 125 million years old. Without the tail this bird is about 15 cm long, about the size and shape of a small kingfisher. Notable is the length of its beak which is about 60% of the length of the head. The beak is toothed at the end, suggesting that it may have fed like a kingfisher as well.
It was well developed for flight and for perching. The wings have two claws and a small thumb.

On the type specimen, the bird seems to have died in the process of molting, as flight feathers are missing and only down, wing coverts and body feathers were preserved.

Unlike most birds of its time, it shows uncinate processes, which strengthen the ribcage and allows for a breathing process shared by tuataras, coelurosaurian theropods and penguins.

(Photo by Adrian Thysse. Hong Kong Science Museum)


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