Did you know that Aves (birds) can be seen to have evolved from flying dinosaurs? In the same fashion, ancient fliers of modern birds are our focus today.
Only flying dinosaurs matched the innate ability for flight common in modern birds. Coupled with the structures of their hips, which makes them classified into two distinct categories. The saurischian dinosaurs, structured like modern lizards are land restrictive dinosaurs.
The ‘Ornithischia,’ comes from the orbiters. Meaning ‘birds’, and the Greek word ‘Ischion’, meaning ‘hip joint’. The category of dinosaurs this article focus on today is the ornithischian. Dinosaurs looking like modern birds. Let’s get right to it!
Flying Dinosaurs: The Archaeopteryx
Firstly, the Archaeopteryx is a genus flying dinosaur. Apparently, the Archaeopteryx came in sight towards the end of the Jurassic Period, millions of years ago. The equatorial archipelago now in Germany sheltered these animals.
Secondly, in 1861, the first-ever Archaeopteryx emerged. Since then, almost a dozen of its fossils have been discovered. The discovery shedding more light on the outward appearance, anatomy, as well as the behavior of a flying dinosaur.
Also, the feathers of the Archaeopteryx looked so identical to those of modern birds. In addition, the Archaeopteryx and modern birds had similar sets of teeth, which is a contrasting part of most dinosaurs.
Microraptor is one of the flying dinosaurs from the household of the Dromaeosauridae. The word ‘Microraptor’ is from the Greek word “micro,” meaning little, small, and “raptor,” a Greek word that means ‘one who seizes.’ The creature lived in thick forests located in Asia. The Microraptor is one of the Cretaceous fossils found in “Jiufotang, Liaoning, China.”
The Microraptor measured 90cm in length. Averagely weighed about 2 Ibs. The second pair of wings brought close its foot to one another. It is a hypothesis that this flying dinosaur could fly and used its pair of wings to glide. Equally flying with a restriction.
Flying Dinosaurs: The Rahonavis
The exact species of flying dinosaur got scientists wondering what exactly they were. Sadly, a debating conclusion between it being an avialan or a deinonychosaur is ongoing. For the sake of classification, it is a “Dromaeosaurid”, a subclass of “Deinonychosauria. Moreover, it could have also been a primary avialan.
Discussion of opposing opinions over the integrity of the remains rises among paleontologists daily. Comparatively, the only Rahonavis discovered had to be sieved from the remains of an unrelated dinosaur. Coupled with the fact that they were also based on a similar solitary find.
Discoveries prove that the Rahonavis grew up to 70 cm in length under variable conditions. It could also fly more freely than the previously discussed Archaeopteryx and Microraptor.
Watch the space for the second episode of this series!