Archaeornithoides

Name: Archaeornithoides ‭(‬shaped like ancient bird‭)‬.
Phonetic: Ar-kay-or-nif-oy-deez.
Named By: Andrzej Elżanowski‭ & ‬Peter Wellnhofer‭ ‬-‭ ‬1992.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Theropoda,‭ ‬Coelurosauria,‭ ‬Troodontidae‭?
Species: A.‭ ‬deinosauriscus‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Total size unknown due to lack of remains.‭ ‬Skull roughly estimated to be about‭ ‬5‭ ‬centimetres long.
Known locations: Mongolia‭ ‬-‭ ‬Djadokhta Formation.
Time period: Campanian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Skull and lower jaw fragments of a possibly juvenile individual.

       Archaeornithoides has proven to be a problematic genus since it has been very difficult to ascertain exactly what it was.‭ ‬Only known from partial paired maxilla and dentaries,‭ ‬Archaeornithoides was first considered to be a primitive bird because of what were considered distinct bird-like features.‭ ‬Later discoveries however proved that these distinct bird features were also seen in many dromaeosaurid and troodontid dinosaurs.‭ ‬It seems plausible now that Archaeornithoides may actually be a maniraptoran dinosaur and possibly a troodontid.‭ ‬There has been further speculation however that Archaeornithoides may be a juvenile form of an already established genus,‭ ‬but it has been noted that in other troodontids,‭ ‬juveniles are usually distinct enough to identify a genus,‭ ‬and at the time of writing Archaeornithoides is currently unlike anything else.
       The rear portion of the preserved skull and jaws shows damage that may have been caused by teeth.‭ ‬This has further led to speculation that the teeth may have been those like you would see on a deltatheridiid mammal,‭ ‬and that the bones of the Archaeornithoides holotype may have passed through the digestive system of a mammal before being fossilised.‭ ‬If this theory is correct then this would actually be the‭ ‬earliest known evidence of a mammal eating a dinosaur,‭ ‬though if by active predation or scavenging is uncertain.‭ ‬This would also comfortably beat the commonly established first example of a mammal eating a dinosaur,‭ ‬the genus Repenomamus.‭ ‬In Repenomamus however,‭ ‬we have more direction proof of mammal on dinosaur predation because the dinosaur’s remains have actually been preserved as stomach contents within the Repenomamus remains.‭ ‬For this reason Repenomamus will always be the first conclusive proof of mammals eating dinosaurs,‭ ‬while Archaeornithoides is still only theory.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Birds in Cretaceous Ecosystems.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Acta Palaeontologia Polonica,‭ ‬28‭(‬1-2‭)‬:‭ ‬75-92‭ ‬-‭ ‬Andrzej Elżanowski‭ ‬-‭ ‬1983.
-‭ ‬A new link between theropods and birds from the Cretaceous of Mongolia.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Nature‭ ‬359‭ (‬6398‭)‬:‭ ‬821‭–‬823.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Andrzej Elżanowski‭ & ‬Peter Wellnhofer‭ ‬-‭ ‬1992.
-‭ ‬Skull of Archaeornithoides from the Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia.‭ ‬-‭ ‬American Journal of Science‭ ‬293:‭ ‬235‭–‬252.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Andrzej Elżanowski‭ & ‬Peter Wellnhofer‭ ‬-‭ ‬1993.
-‭ ‬The perinate skull of Byronosaurus‭ (‬Troodontidae‭) ‬with observations on the cranial ontogeny of paravian theropods‭"‬.‭ ‬American Museum Novitates‭ ‬3657:‭ ‬1‭–‬52.‭ ‬-‭ ‬G.‭ ‬S.‭ ‬Bever,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Norell‭ ‬-‭ ‬2009.





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