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Caihong
Temporal range: Late Jurassic, 161Ma
Caihong skeleton.jpg
The holotype of Caihong juji, PMoL-B00175
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Clade: Saurischia
Clade: Theropoda
Family: Anchiornithidae
Genus: Caihong
Hu et al., 2018
Type species
Caihong juji
Hu et al., 2018

Caihong (Chinese: 彩虹; pinyin: cǎihóng; literally: "rainbow") is an extinct dinobird from Late Jurassic China. Caihong was discovered in 2014. The animal may predate the famous Aurornis xui, the earliest bird, by about 1 million years.

The type species, Caihong juji, was named in 2018.

Description

Size

Caihong limbs
The shoulder girdle and limbs of Caihong

Caihong was a rather small dinosaur. Its length was estimated at 40 cm (16 inches), and its weight at 475 g (1.047 pounds).

Skeleton

Caihong feathers
Feathering on different areas of PMoL-B00175

The skull of Caihong has a length of 67.6 millimetres. It is low and elongated (superficially similar to that of Velociraptor), only slightly shorter than the femur.

Vertebrae

Caihong probably has ten neck vertebrae, thirteen back vertebrae, five sacral vertebrae and twenty-sic tail vertebrae.

Feathering and coloration

The fossilized feathers of Caihong showed similarity to a black iridescent color in extant birds. Other feathers found on the head, chest, and the base of the tail preserve flattened sheets of platelet-like melanosomes.

Caihong represents the oldest known evidence of platelet-like melanosomes.

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