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RE: Microraptor preyed on birds (official paper in PNAS)
From: Ben Creisler
Apologies to the DML for resending. I forgot to convert to "plain text" so some
people may not have been able to read the posting the first time.
First, I have changed my email address for the DML. I had kept by old DML email
address for years, but server crashes and other problems have made it a
problem. I can still receive email at the old address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks to Dan Chure for posting the pterosaur Microtuban ref for me and to
Mary for changing the email connection to DML.
Here's a new paper available online. The topic was discussed earlier based on
the SVP abstract.
Jingmai O'Connor, Zhonghe Zhou, and Xing Xu (2011)
Additional specimen of Microraptor provides unique evidence of dinosaurs
preying on birds.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (advance online publication)
Preserved indicators of diet are extremely rare in the fossil record; even more
so is unequivocal direct evidence for predator–prey relationships. Here, we
report on a unique specimen of the small nonavian theropod Microraptor gui from
the Early Cretaceous Jehol biota, China, which has the remains of an adult
enantiornithine bird preserved in its abdomen, most likely not scavenged, but
captured and consumed by the dinosaur. We provide direct evidence for the
dietary preferences of Microraptor and a nonavian dinosaur feeding on a bird.
Further, because Jehol enantiornithines were distinctly arboreal, in contrast
to their cursorial ornithurine counterparts, this fossil suggests that
Microraptor hunted in trees thereby supporting inferences that this taxon was
also an arborealist, and provides further support for the arboreality of basal
For reconstructions and images of the fossil: