In December of 2000, three Chinese scientists reported the discovery of the smallest adult dinosaur ever found, a species that claims to tighten the evolutionary gap between dinosaurs and birds. The dinosaur’s specie name is Microraptor, and it is slowly restoring the integrity of a sect of paleontology that was discredited in November of 1999 after National Geographic printed a story on the discovery of a species known as Archeoraptor. The magazine “trumpeted the story as the ‘missing link’ between birds and dinosaurs,” only for the scientific world and later the public to discover that the skeletal composite built was a, “primitive bird with a dinosaurian tail glued on” (Holden).
The discovery of Archeoraptor was not a total waste of time, however. The dinosaurian half of this faulty species, the tail, in truth actually did help to close the gap between birds and dinosaurs. The tail that was found turned out to be the tail of a Microraptor. The Chinese farmer, who originally discovered the ruins of what came to be known as Microraptor, stumbled across them in the same fossil beds that had housed the remains of inadequate Archeoraptor (Tiny, Feathered). The remains were found in Xiasanjiazi, Chaoyang County in fossil beds composed of layers of rocks known as the Jiufotang Formation, which dates back to the early Cretaceous period, and underlain by the famous Yixian Formation. This formation, “has yielded more than 1,000 specimens of early birds and feathered dinosaurs” (Wang, Xu & Zhou).
Xing Xu, one of the three scientists credited with the discovery of Microraptor bought the specimens the Chinese farmer had found for $5000 (Tiny, Feathered). He then took ...
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...st mistakes of Archeoraptor behind them, those who believe Microraptor to be the evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs are going to have to prove themselves. With time, tests and evidence it is hoped that Microraptor will help to write a missing part of biological history, answering the questions: What is the evolution of birds? moreover, did the ancestors of arboreal birds once reside on the ground or have they always been in trees? with solid facts.
Holden, Constance. “Florida Meeting Shows Perils, Promise of Dealing for Dinos.” Science Magazine. 288.5464. (14 April 2000): 238-239.
Stokstad, Erik. “Tiny Feathered Dino Is Most Birdlike Yet.” Science Magazine. 290.5498. (8 Dec 2000). 1871-1872.
Wang, Xiaolin, Xing Xu, and Zhonghe Zhou. “The smallest known non-avian theropod dinosaur.” Nature. 408. (2000). 705-708.
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