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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 124.5–120 Ma
Sapeornis chaoyangensis NMNS.jpg
Fossil specimen, National Museum of Natural Science
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Avebrevicauda
Family: Omnivoropterygidae
Genus: Sapeornis
Zhou & Zhang, 2002
S. chaoyangensis
Binomial name
Sapeornis chaoyangensis
Zhou & Zhang, 2002

Sapeornis is a genus of primitive bird which lived during the Lower Cretaceous about 125–120 million years ago (mya). Only one species is known: Sapeornis chaoyangensis. The fossils are from the Jiufotang Formation and Yixian Formation rocks in the People's Republic of China. Several nearly complete skeletons have been found.[2]

Sapeornis is named after SAPE, the Society of Avian Paleontology and Evolution, added to the Ancient Greek όρνις (ornis), meaning "bird". chaoyangensis is Latin for "from Chaoyang".

This animal was about 30–33 cm long. The skull has a handful of teeth in the upper jawtip only. A single tail feather has been found on one of the specimens.[3] It may have been a glider or soarer rather than an active flier.

References[change | change source]

  1. Hu, D.; et al. (2010). "A new sapeornithid bird from China and its implication for early avian evolution". Acta Geologica Sinica. 84 (3): 472–482. doi:10.1111/j.1755-6724.2010.00188.x.
  2. Zhou, Zhonghe & Zhang, Fucheng (2003): Anatomy of the primitive bird Sapeornis chaoyangensis from the Early Cretaceous of Liaoning, China. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 40(5): 731–747. doi:10.1139/E03-011 (HTML abstract)
  3. Smith, Kerri 2012. China's dinosaur hunter: The ground breaker. BBC Nature. [1]