Xianglong

Name: Xianglong (Flying dragon).
Phonetic: Zhang-long.
Named By: Li et al - 2007.
Classification: Chordata, Sauropsida, Squamata, Iguana.
Species: X. zhaoi (type).
Diet: Insectivore.
Size: 15.5 centimetres long.
Known locations: China - Yixian Formation.
Time period: Barremian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Single specimen, complete with skin impressions, possibly a juvenile.

       Xianglong is currently the only known 'flying' lizard from the cretaceous, although earlier reptiles like Coelurosaurovus from the Permian are also thought to have had a similar ability. Xianglong could not fly in the true sense of the word, but the membrane that stretched out from its sides would have greatly slowed its descent allowing it to glide from one tree to another by jumping off a high point. This membrane was supported by specially adapted ribs, and was likely to have been its primary form of defence from arboreal predators. Of its fifteen and a half centimetre body length, nine and a half centimetres were tail.

Further reading
- A gliding lizard from the Early Cretaceous of China. - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104(13):5507-5509. - P. -P. Li, K. -Q. Gao, L. Hou & X. Xu - 2007.



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