NOTE: This is an outdated rendition of Microraptor
which has since been corrected: [link]
2011, acrylics, photography & digital
120 million years ago, Early Cretaceous (Aptian), Jiufotang Formation, Liaoning, China
In the branches of a gingko, the 4-winged dromaeosaur Microraptor gui
pounces on an enantiornithine bird (Sinornis santensis
). Briefly losing balance as it clutches the screeching avian, the dinosaur feels around with it's clawed foot to gain a secure purchase before finishing off it's victim with a bite to the head.
A fossil skeleton of Microraptor
(one half of which is right now sitting next to my aquarium across from my desk, the counterpart is on the windowsill) was described in 2011 showing the partially arcticulated remains of a tree-dwelling enantiornithine in it's tummy. This not only provided direct evidence of Micro's predatory habits, but was viewed as corroborating the idea of an arboreal lifestyle for this dinosaur.
Artwork originally published in: O’Connor, Zhou & Xu. 2011. Additional specimen of Microraptor provides unique evidence of dinosaurs preying on birds. PNAS [link]