GUO Xiangqi, XU Li & JIA Songhai (2018)
Morphological and Phylogenetic Study Based on New Materials of Anchiornis huxleyi (Dinosauria, Theropoda) from Jianchang, Western Liaoning, China.Â
Acta Geologica Sinica 92(1): 1-15 (English edition)
Anchiornis huxleyi, which is a member of the MiddleâLate Jurassic Yanliao Biota, is the smallest feathered dinosaur ever known. It has been described as a critical link between feathered dinosaurs and birds. Recent studies, including those of Anchiornis, Xiaotingia, Eosinopteryx and Aurornis, challenged Archaeopteryx as the most basal bird. The new Anchiornis huxleyi specimens that are described in this paper show some minor different characters compared to previously reported Anchiornis specimens, which has revised the character list of Anchiornis and indicates a different phylogenetic point from former opinions.
The results from a phylogenetic analysis placed Anchiornis at the base of Avialae and indicated that currently defined Troodontidae may not be a monophyletic group. That means that the relationship between Avialae, Troodontidae and Dromaeosauridae is far more complex than previously imagined and that the Avialae had a rapid evolution during the MiddleâLate Jurassic period.