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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.


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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