We might know more about the Microraptor than any other dinosaur because scientists have discovered many fossils from this animal. Over 300 Microraptor fossils have been found.
- The microraptor lived in China during the Early Cretaceous, 120 million years ago. It was about 3 feet long from tail to nose. Its name means “Small Hunter/Thief.”
- Scientists had suspected that many dinosaurs had feathers, but microraptor fossils have been found with fossilized feathers, confirming that idea. Feathers covered the microraptor’s body and this animal even had feathers on its legs and feet.
- Scientists think it probably couldn’t soar in the sky like modern birds, but that it could glide from tree branch to tree branch.
- It had large eye sockets, which means it had good eyesight.
- Scientists have often speculated about what color dinosaurs might be. The Microraptor fossils contained preserved color cells. Scientists were able to determine that the Microraptor had shiny black feathers, like a crow or grackle.
- They’ve also discovered undigested food among the dinosaur’s bones. Scientists know that the Microraptor was a carnivore. It ate all kinds of things—lizards, fish, insects, and birds.
- It had a long tail for balance, three claws, and a retractible “killer claw.”
Questions and Answers
Question: How big was the Microraptor?
Answer: The Microraptor was the smallest of all discovered meat-eating dinosaurs. It weighed less than a pound.
Find out more about this tiny dinosaur.