STL Science Center

STL Science Center

16 July 2016

Before the Birds

Protoavis texensis was named and described by Sankar Chatterjee in 1991. The fragmentary remains appear extremely avian but retain many theropod characteristics and the mysterious mixture of characteristics has led to the contentious and problematic diagnosis and descriptions of the small dinosaur since the initial description. Aspects of the anatomy have been described and redescribed a number of times and interpreted as different anatomical structures by different authors. There have been discussions of the fossil representing a massive death assemblage rather than a single specimen. However, bird, early bird, lots of remains, or single theropod, Protoavis is a dinosaurian
fossil regardless. That dinosaur is small at 35 cm tall and rather old at approximately 210 million years.

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