STL Science Center

STL Science Center

01 March 2014

Dino or Bird?

Rahonavis is a borderline dinosaur that may potentially be a bird; as stated yesterday. Most of the illustrations that have been released since the naming and describing of Rahonavis in 1998 represent this overlap of morphologies. Rather than looking at those heavily dinosaur and bird influenced crosses of illustrative masterpiece, looking at the skeleton provides some of the best clues concerning the morphological characteristics of Rahonavis. As we can see in the skeleton, there are very avian characters in the forelimbs as well as the pectoral girdle. The sternum of Rahonavis is even a little keeled, allowing for the attachment of larger chest muscles; Rahonavis was probably not an actively powered flier. The hindlimbs and the pelvic girdle of Rahonavis are rather dinosaurian. The sickle claws on the feet as well as the orientation of the pubis are very dromaeosaurid. The skull fenestrations and teeth, the tail, and the ribs are also very dinosaur related characters seen in Rahonavis.

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