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Cryptovolans

From Academic Kids

Cryptovolans pauli is a 90 cm long feathered dromaeosaurid dinosaur recently discovered in the Jiufotang site, China. Its species name honours paleontologist Gregory S. Paul. Cryptovolans is related to Velociraptor.

Cryptovolans is remarkable for being the first known dinosaur to have flight-capable feathers on its legs as well as on its arms. It also had feathers on the end of its long tail, and probably on the rest of its body.

It is believed that Cryptovolans may have been able to fly better than Archaeopteryx, the animal usually referred to as the earliest known bird. Possessing a keel and ribs with an uncinate process, Cryptovolans has modern bird features which are absent in Archaeopteryx. The fact that this flight-capable animal is also very clearly a dromaeosaurid suggests that the Dromaeosauridae might actually be a basal bird group, and that later (larger) species such as Deinonychus were actually secondarily flightless. Current evidence for this theory is inconclusive, and some of the modern bird-like features in Crytovolans may have evolved independently. Regardless of whether dromaeosaurs are a sister group to birds or actual members of Aves, both groups are part of the Maniraptora suborder and are ultimately theropod dinosaurs.

Many think that Cryptovolans is a junior synonym of Microraptor.

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