Named By: Q. Ji, S. -A. Ji, J., H. You, W. Chen, Y. Liu & Y. Liu - 2005.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda, Troodontidae.
Species: J. elegans (type).
Size: About 55 centimetres long.
Known locations: China, Hebei Province - Huajiying Formation, Qiaotou member.
Time period: Barremian/Aptian? of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Almost complete articulated skeleton preserved on a slab.
Initially thought to be one of the most primitive birds in the fossil record, later studies have depicted Jinfengopteryx as a small troodontid theropod dinosaur. This new interpretation has been derived from observation of the form of the skull and the presence of an enlarged sickle claw on the second toe of each foot. Jinfengopteryx can be broken down to mean ‘Jinfeng feather’. Jinfeng itself is Chinese and means Golden Phoenix, which in Chinese folklore was the queen of the birds. The inspiration for this came from the original idea of Jinfengopteryx being a primitive bird.
- First avialan bird from China. - Geological Bulletin of China 24(3):197-210. - Q. Ji, S. -A. Ji, J., H. You, W. Chen, Y. Liu & Y. Liu - 2005.
- Jinfengopteryx compared to Archaeopteryx, with comments on the mosaic evolution of long-tailed avialan birds. - Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition), 81(3): 337-343. - Ji S. & Ji, Q. - 2007.