PISCIVORY IN THE FEATHERED DINOSAUR MICRORAPTOR
Version of Record online: 19 APR 2013
© 2013 The Author(s). Evolution © 2013 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
Volume 67, Issue 8, pages 2441–2445, August 2013
How to Cite
Xing, L., Persons, W. S., Bell, P. R., Xu, X., Zhang, J., Miyashita, T., Wang, F. and Currie, P. J. (2013), PISCIVORY IN THE FEATHERED DINOSAUR MICRORAPTOR. Evolution, 67: 2441–2445. doi: 10.1111/evo.12119
- Issue online: 26 JUL 2013
- Version of Record online: 19 APR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 20 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Received: 4 DEC 2012
- National Natural Science Foundation of China. Grant Number: 41120124002
- Avian evolution;
- fossil gut contents;
The largest specimen of the four-winged dromaeosaurid dinosaur Microraptor gui includes preserved gut contents. Previous reports of gut contents and considerations of functional morphology have indicated that Microraptor hunted in an arboreal environment. The new specimen demonstrates that this was not strictly the case, and offers unique insights into the ecology of nonavian dinosaurs early in the evolution of flight. The preserved gut contents are composed of teleost fish remains. Several morphological adaptations of Microraptor are identified as consistent with a partially piscivorous diet, including dentition with reduced serrations and forward projecting teeth on the anterior of the dentary. The feeding habits of Microraptor can now be understood better than that of any other carnivorous nonavian dinosaur, and Microraptor appears to have been an opportunistic and generalist feeder, able to exploit the most common prey in both the arboreal and aquatic microhabitats of the Early Cretaceous Jehol ecosystem.