Named By: H. M. F. Alvarenga & J. F. Bonaparte - 1992.
Classification: Chordata, Aves, Patagopterygiformes, Patagopterygidae.
Species: A. minutus (type).
Size: About 60 centimetres long.
Known locations: Argentina, Patagonia - Bajo de la Carpa Formation.
Time period: Santonian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Single specimen.
Patagopteryx is a very interesting bird since it is known to have had flight capable ancestors, yet evolved to become what is termed secondarily flightless. This makes Patagopteryx one of the earliest examples of a bird that evolved to become flightless in order to fit into a particular ecological niche. So far it is still not known if Patagopteryx was a herbivore or a Carnivore, or indeed if it ate both meat and plants making it an omnivore. This is because hard beaks like birds can be used to eat anything.
- A new flightless landbird from the Cretaceous of Patagonia. Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Science Series 36:51-64 [J. Hunter/J. Hunter/J. Hunter], H. M. F. Alvarenga & J. F. Bonaparte - 1992.