May. 19th, 2014

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So since my Qiliania the other day was so tiny on the snout of that Argentinosaurus, I felt it necessary to give it its own portrait. So here you go, a much closer look at the smallest-known non-extant dinosaur. Like other Enantiothornithines, it has developed a pygostyle instead of a long bony tail, asymmetrical wing feathers, and other traits that make it very similar to modern birds, though it still lacks a beak, and instead has a toothed snout. Whether these guys were capable of true flight, we're not yet sure. Instead, it may have been primarily a ground-dweller, and used its wings for wing-assisted incline running (WAIR). Many ground birds today still do this, using their wings primarily to help propel them up a slope without truly leaving the ground for more than a few seconds, and it has been proposed that the use of WAIR by early winged dinosaurs eventually led to the evolution of powered flight.

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Lauren Helton

September 2014

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