Microraptor Microraptor was a tiny, feathered theropod that lived in Asia in the Early Cretaceous Period (125–120 million years ago). Its fossils were discovered in Liaoning province, China. Microraptor may have been light enough to glide—or possibly even fly—short distances. Just 80 centimetres (31 inches) long and 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) in weight, it is among the very smallest of dinosaurs ever discovered. Many palaeontologists see Microraptor as a close relative of early birds, such as Archaeopteryx.
Microraptor had a thick covering of feathers, with a diamond-shaped fan at the end of its tail. It had long feathers on its arms, tail and—unusually—its legs. The Chinese palaeontologist Xu Xing, who discovered it in 2003, described Microraptor as a "four-winged dinosaur". The wings anchored to its feet might actually have hindered its ability to run on the ground. Microraptor could not raise its front wings high enough to take off from the ground, so it probably launched itself from a perch, swooping downwards in the way that many modern birds do.
The name Microraptor means “small one who seizes”.
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