Sinornithosaurus.Based on fossils from China, Early Cretaceous, 130 - 125 million years ago.
- James Reece
- © Australian Museum
This was an active and agile species that probably hunted in groups. It was probably adapted for leaping. Its rigid tail acted as a counterbalance, allowing pinpoint accuracy and freeing the powerful feet claws. Whether this helped in attacking prey or leaping among tree branches is difficult to say. Recent research (published in 2010) suggests it may even have been venomous as it had similar teeth and jaw structures to modern rear-fanged snakes. Depressions on the side of its face could have housed a venom gland, and these connected to depressions above the tooth row that fed venom to long grooved teeth in the upper jaw.
Sinornithosaurus was one of the first dinosaurs discovered with feathers.