A New Troodontid Dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of Liaoning Province, China

Caizhi Shen, Junchang Lü, Liu Sizhao, Martin Kundrat, Stephen Brusatte, Gao Hailong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new troodontid dinosaur, Daliansaurus liaoningensis gen. et sp. nov., is erected based on a nearly complete specimen from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of Beipiao City, Liaoning Province, China. This well preserved skeleton provides important new details of the anatomy for Liaoning troodontids, and gives new insight into their phylogenetic relationships and evolution.
Daliansaurus is distinguished from other troodontids by an enlarged ungual on pedal digit IV, which is approximately the same size as the sickle-shaped second ungual, and is differentiated from other Liaoning troodontids by a number of characters of the skull, manus, pelvis, and hindlimb. A phylogenetic analysis recovers Daliansaurus within a subclade of Liaoning troodontids that also
includes Sinovenator, Sinusonasus, and Mei. We erect a name for this group—Sinovenatorinae—and argue that it reflects a localized radiation of small-bodied troodontids in the Early Cretaceous of eastern Asia, similar to previously recognized radiations of Liaoning dromaeosaurids and avialans. As
more Liaoning theropods are discovered, it is becoming apparent that small, feathered paravians were particularly diverse during the Early Cretaceous, and future work is needed to clarify how this diversity arose, which species coexisted, and how these numerous species partitioned niches.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)763–780
JournalActa Geologica Sinica - English Edition
Early online date5 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2017

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