, Volume 92, Issue 4, pp 173–177 | Cite as

A new maniraptoran dinosaur from China with long feathers on the metatarsus

  • Xing XuEmail author
  • Fucheng Zhang
Short Communication


The unusual presence of long pennaceous feathers on the feet of basal dromaeosaurid dinosaurs has recently been presented as strong evidence in support of the arboreal–gliding hypothesis for the origin of bird flight, but it could be a unique feature of dromaeosaurids and thus irrelevant to the theropod–bird transition. Here, we report a new eumaniraptoran theropod from China, with avian affinities, which also has long pennaceous feathers on its feet. This suggests that such morphology might represent a primitive adaptation close to the theropod–bird transition. The long metatarsus feathers are likely primitive for Eumaniraptora and might have played an important role in the origin of avian flight.


Pedopenna daohugouensis Dromaeosaurids Theropod–bird transition Arboreal–gliding hypothesis Eumaniraptora 



We thank the anonymous reviewers for critical comments that have greatly improved the manuscript, Z. Y. Zhou, J. Clarke, P. J. Chen, Z. H. Zhou, X. L. Wang, F. Jin, Y. B. Shen, Q. Ji, D. Ren, W. Chen, and X. J. Ni for discussions and access to unpublished manuscripts and data, Y.-T. Li for preparing the specimens, R. -S. Li for drawings, Z. H. Zhou and X. L. Wang, among others, of the Liaoxi expedition team of the IVPP for fieldwork, Mark Norell for the help with NONA (version 2.0) software package and Joel Cracraft for bird specimens under his care. This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Special Funds for Major State Basic Research Projects of China, the National Geographic Society, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the American Museum of Natural History.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology & PaleoanthropologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Present address: American Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA

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