Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Reptilia
Subclass Diapsida
Superorder Dinosauria
Order Saurischia
Suborder Theropoda
Family Anchiornithidae
Genus Anchiornis
1st Species Anchiornis huxleyi
Other attributes
Time Range 160.89-160.25 mya
Location China
Name Meaning Near bird
Physical Dimensions 40 centimeters long
Dietary Classification Carnivore

Anchiornis is an anchiornithid theropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of China. It was named in 2009 by Xu Xing and his crew. It was the first bird to exist, as well as one of the first prehistoric creatures to have their color revealed.


Anchiornis was a bird with a sleek, streamlined body, a long tail, long arms with long fingers, and a long, bird-like head with a beakless snout and a mouth filled with small teeth. As well as this, it had long, shaggy feathers connected to its arms (making up its wings), smaller feathers connecting to its legs and feet, and a large crown of feathers atop its head. Most of its body (excluding its snout) would have been covered in long, vaned feathers; most of its body would have been grey in color, with black feet, a black tail and wings with white stripes curving from edge to edge, and a red crown of feathers with a grey front.


Anchiornis was a predator, preying on insects and lizards. Its teeth were small yet sharp, and were used to get a hold of struggling prey as the bird swallowed them whole.


Anchiornis had arms that were 80% longer than its legs; adding onto the fact that its arms had long feathers, this would allow the bird to fly from tree to tree. However, its flying capabilities were not as well-refined as those of the later Microraptor, which had longer wing feathers than it did. As well as this, even for a primitive bird, Anchiornis had relatively long legs, and so, it would have been a relatively fast runner. As well as this, like many modern birds, it had intricate color patterns on its feathers; those patterned feathers would have been used for attracting mates and warding off rivals/predators.

In popular cultureEdit

Anchiornis was featured in the 2010 documentary Flying Monsters 3D; however, it was only put in the documentary to serve as a prey item for the (outdated) Darwinopterus. It was given a more phenomenal portrayal in another documentary, Rise of Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates, where it was shown as one of the earliest birds to fly through the Jurassic forests; the scene which features it also takes a look at its feathers, the main features that made it capable of performing this task.

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