JOURNAL ARTICLE

A basal troodontid from the Early Cretaceous of China

Xing Xu, Mark A Norell, Xiao-lin Wang, Peter J Makovicky, Xiao-chun Wu
Nature 2002 February 14, 415 (6873): 780-4
11845206
Troodontid dinosaurs form one of the most avian-like dinosaur groups. Their phylogenetic position is hotly debated, and they have been allied with almost all principal coelurosaurian lineages. Here we report a basal troodontid dinosaur, Sinovenator changii gen. et sp. nov., from the lower Yixian Formation of China. This taxon has several features that are not found in more derived troodontids, but that occur in dromaeosaurids and avialans. The discovery of Sinovenator and the examination of character distributions along the maniraptoran lineage indicate that principal structural modifications toward avians were acquired in the early stages of maniraptoran evolution.

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