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Naturwissenschaften. 2005 Apr;92(4):173-7. Epub 2005 Feb 1.

A new maniraptoran dinosaur from China with long feathers on the metatarsus.

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  • 1Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, People's Republic of China. xingxu@vip.sina.com


The unusual presence of long pennaceous feathers on the feet of basal dromaeosaurid dinosaurs has recently been presented as strong evidence in support of the arboreal-gliding hypothesis for the origin of bird flight, but it could be a unique feature of dromaeosaurids and thus irrelevant to the theropod-bird transition. Here, we report a new eumaniraptoran theropod from China, with avian affinities, which also has long pennaceous feathers on its feet. This suggests that such morphology might represent a primitive adaptation close to the theropod-bird transition. The long metatarsus feathers are likely primitive for Eumaniraptora and might have played an important role in the origin of avian flight.

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