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Temporal range: Late Jurassic, 161 Ma
Caihong skeleton.jpg
The holotype of Caihong juji, PMoL-B00175
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Clade: Saurischia
Clade: Theropoda
Family: Anchiornithidae
Genus: Caihong
Hu et al., 2018
Type species
Caihong juji
Hu et al., 2018

Caihong (Chinese: 彩虹; pinyin: cǎihóng; literally: "rainbow") is an extinct dinobird from Late Jurassic China. Caihong was discovered in 2014. The animal may predate the famous Aurornis xui, the earliest bird, by about 1 million years.[1]

The type species, Caihong juji, was named in 2018.

Description[change | change source]

Size[change | change source]

The shoulder girdle and limbs of Caihong

Caihong was a rather small dinosaur. Its length was estimated at 40 cm (16 inches), and its weight at 475 g (1.047 pounds).

Skeleton[change | change source]

Feathering on different areas of PMoL-B00175

The skull of Caihong has a length of 67.6 millimetres. It is low and elongated (superficially similar to that of Velociraptor), only slightly shorter than the femur.

Vertebrae[change | change source]

Caihong probably has ten neck vertebrae, thirteen back vertebrae, five sacral vertebrae and twenty-sic tail vertebrae.

Feathering and coloration[change | change source]

The fossilized feathers of Caihong showed similarity to a black iridescent color in extant birds. Other feathers found on the head, chest, and the base of the tail preserve flattened sheets of platelet-like melanosomes.

Caihong represents the oldest known evidence of platelet-like melanosomes.

References[change | change source]

  1. Dongyu Hu; Julia A. Clarke; Chad M. Eliason; Rui Qiu; Quanguo Li; Matthew D. Shawkey; Cuilin Zhao; Liliana D’Alba; Jinkai Jiang; Xing Xu (2018). "A bony-crested Jurassic dinosaur with evidence of iridescent plumage highlights complexity in early paravian evolution". Nature Communications. 9: Article number 217.