Incisivosaurus ("incisor lizard") is a genus of small, probably herbivorous theropod dinosaur from the early Cretaceous Period of what is now the People's Republic of China. The first specimen to be described (by Xu et al. in 2002), IVPP V13326, is a skull that was collected from the lowermost levels (the fluvial Lujiatun beds) of the Yixian Formation (dating to the Barremian stage about 126 million years ago[1] in the Sihetun area, near Beipiao City, in western Liaoning Province. The most significant, and highly unusual, characteristic of this dinosaur is its apparent adaptation to an herbivorous or omnivorous lifestyle. It was named for its prominent, rodent-like front teeth, which show wear patterns commonly found in plant-eating dinosaurs. The specific name gauthieri honors Dr. Jacques Gauthier, a pioneer of the phylogenetic method of classification.[2]

Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 126 Ma
Incisivosaurus gauthieri
Restoration of the skull
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Clade: Oviraptorosauria
Genus: Incisivosaurus
Xu et al., 2002
Type species
Incisivosaurus gauthieri
Xu et al., 2002


Incisivosaurus (pencil 2013)
Reconstruction of Incisivosaurus

The initial description of Incisivosaurus by Xu et al. showed that the skull, which measures approximately 10 cm (3.9 in) in length, preserves the most complete dentition known for any oviraptorosaurian. Their cladistic analysis indicated that Incisivosaurus lies at the base of the oviraptorosaurian group, making it more primitive than Caudipteryx and the oviraptorids. A subsequent study by Osmolska et al. in 2004 described the distinguishing skeletal features of Incisivosaurus, including a long snout that made up about half the total length of the skull, a slender lower jaw with a long fenestra (opening), and its distinctive, large, flattened front teeth. In addition to these unique features, Incisivosaurus shared many traits with more typical oviraptorosaurs, allowing its classification with that group. Several features, including its numerous teeth (most advanced oviraptorids were toothless), show that it was a primitive member of the group, and several features of the skull even support a relationship with the therizinosaurs, another theropod group that was probably herbivorous.[3]

In 2009 the holotype skull was scanned and analyzed in three dimensions. The results indicated that Incisivosaurus had less bird - like air spaces in the skull bones than later oviraptorosaurs did. It also found that Incisivosaurus had reduced olfactory lobes and expanded optic lobes similar to ornithomimosaurs. It suggested that the most birdlike features of oviraptorosaurs may have been convergent with birds.[4]

Incisivosaurus is assumed to have been feathered like most other maniraptoran theropods. Its total body length has been estimated at just under 1 meter (3.3 feet). It is possible that Incisivosaurus is the same species as Protarchaeopteryx, though more fossil specimens are needed before the two can be directly compared.


Incisivosaurus NT small
Life restoration
Incisivosaurus gauthieri head
Restoration of head with speculative parrot-like tongue

Incisivosaurus, as well as its potential synonym Protarchaeopteryx, were included in the phylogenetic analysis of a 2014 study on the group Paraves and its relatives. In the unweight cladogram, Incisivosaurus was rendered as the sister taxon to Protarchaeopteryx, with their group being the most primitive oviraptorosaurians. In both weighted analyses however, Protarchaeopteryx was found to be the most primitive oviraptorosaurian, with Incisivosaurus as the next most basal. One of the weighted cladograms, using TNT, is shown below.[5]















See also


  1. ^ Chang, S.-C.; Gao, K.-Q.; Zhou, Z.-F.; Jourdan, F. (2017). "New chronostratigraphic constraints on the Yixian Formation with implications for the Jehol Biota". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 487: 399–406. Bibcode:2017PPP...487..399C. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.09.026.)
  2. ^ Xu, X., Cheng, Y.-N. Wang, X.-L., and Chang, C.-H. (2002). "An unusual oviraptorosaurian dinosaur from China." Nature, 419: 291-293.
  3. ^ Osmolska, H., Currie, P. J., and Barsbold, R. (2004). "Oviraptorosaura." in The Dinosauria (2nd edition), Weishampel, D. B., Dodson, P., and Osmólska, H., (eds). University of California Press.
  4. ^ Balanoff, Amy M., Xu, Xing, Kobayashi, Yoshimura, Matsufune, Yusuke, Norell, Mark. "Cranial Osteology of the Theropod Dinosaur Incisivosaurus gauthieri (Theropoda: Oviraptorosauria)". AMERICAN MUSEUM NOVITATES, Number 3651, NEW YORK, NY 10024 35 pp., 17 figures June 25, 2009
  5. ^ Godefroit, Pascal; Cau, Andrea; Hu, Dong-Yu; Escuillié, François; Wu, Wenhao; Dyke, Gareth (2013). "A Jurassic avialan dinosaur from China resolves the early phylogenetic history of birds". Nature. 498 (7454): 359–362. Bibcode:2013Natur.498..359G. doi:10.1038/nature12168. PMID 23719374.

External links


The Aptian is an age in the geologic timescale or a stage in the stratigraphic column. It is a subdivision of the Early or Lower Cretaceous epoch or series and encompasses the time from 125.0 ± 1.0 Ma to 113.0 ± 1.0 Ma (million years ago), approximately. The Aptian succeeds the Barremian and precedes the Albian, all part of the Lower/Early Cretaceous.The Aptian partly overlaps the upper part of the regionally used (in Western Europe) stage Urgonian.

The Selli Event, also known as OAE1a, was one of two oceanic Anoxic events in the Cretaceous period, which occurred around 120 Ma and lasted approximately 1 to 1.3 million years. The Aptian extinction was a minor extinction event hypothesized to have occurred around 116 to 117 Ma.


The Barremian is an age in the geologic timescale (or a chronostratigraphic stage) between 129.4 ± 1.5 Ma (million years ago) and 125.0 ± 1.0 Ma). It is a subdivision of the Early Cretaceous epoch (or Lower Cretaceous series). It is preceded by the Hauterivian and followed by the Aptian stage.


Caudipteryx (which means "tail feather") is a genus of peacock-sized theropod dinosaurs that lived in the Aptian age of the early Cretaceous Period (about 124.6 million years ago). They were feathered and remarkably birdlike in their overall appearance.

Two species have been described; C. zoui (the type species), in 1998, and C. dongi, in 2000.Caudipteryx fossils were first discovered in the Yixian Formation of the Sihetun area of Liaoning Province, northeastern China in 1997.

Dino Dan

Dino Dan is a Canadian television series that was created and is directed by J. J. Johnson. The series premiered on TVOKids in Canada on January 4, 2010 and on Nick Jr. in the United States on October 17, 2010. The series also airs on Access, Knowledge Network, and SCN. It is produced by Sinking Ship Entertainment, in association with TVOKids, Access, Knowledge Network, and SCN. A third season of the series, Dino Dana, premiered on Amazon Prime on May 26, 2017. The show premiered on Universal Kids on October 6, 2018, three years after Nick Jr.'s rights to the series expired.


Gigantoraptor is a genus of giant oviraptorosaurian theropod dinosaur.


Jeholornis (meaning "Jehol bird") is a genus of avialans that lived between approximately 122 and 120 million years ago during the early Cretaceous Period in China. Fossil Jeholornis were first discovered in the Jiufotang Formation in Hebei Province, China (in what was previously Rehe Province, also known as Jehol—hence the name) and additional specimens have been found in the older Yixian Formation.Jeholornis had long tails and few small teeth, and were approximately the size of turkeys, making them among the largest avialans known until the Late Cretaceous. Their diet included seeds of cycads, Ginkgo or similar plants.

List of Asian dinosaurs

This is a list of dinosaurs whose remains have been recovered from Asia excluding the Indian Subcontinent, which was part of a separate landmass for much of the Mesozoic. This list does not include dinosaurs that live or lived after the Mesozoic age such as birds.

List of Dino Dan episodes

Dino Dan is a Canadian television series that was created and is directed by J. J. Johnson. The series premiered on TVOKids in Canada on January 4, 2010 and on Nick Jr. in the United States on October 17, 2010. A third season of the series, Dino Dana, has been aired on TVOKids in Canada and instead of being aired on Nick Jr. in the United States, it is streamed on in the United States.

List of Prehistoric Park episodes

The following is a list of episodes of Prehistoric Park.

List of creatures by Impossible Pictures

The following is a complete list of prehistoric creatures from the universe of the Walking with... series documentary, science fiction and fantasy television programmes, companion books and also any spin-off merchandise. Most of the shows produced by Impossible Pictures with BBC Worldwide and Discovery Channel in association with ProSieben and France 3 and created by Tim Haines and Jasper James. They used visual effects teams such as Framestore, The Mill and Jellyfish Pictures to bring back extinct creatures to life.

List of dinosaur genera

This list of dinosaurs is a comprehensive listing of all genera that have ever been included in the superorder Dinosauria, excluding class Aves (birds, both living and those known only from fossils) and purely vernacular terms.

The list includes all commonly accepted genera, but also genera that are now considered invalid, doubtful (nomen dubium), or were not formally published (nomen nudum), as well as junior synonyms of more established names, and genera that are no longer considered dinosaurs. Many listed names have been reclassified as everything from birds to crocodilians to petrified wood. The list contains 1559 names, of which approximately 1192 are considered either valid dinosaur genera or nomina dubia.


Nankangia is an extinct genus of caenagnathoid oviraptorosaurian dinosaur known from the Late Cretaceous Nanxiong Formation of Nankang County, Ganzhou City of Jiangxi Province, southeastern China. It contains a single species, Nankangia jiangxiensis. N. jiangxiensis coexisted with at least four other caenagnathoids, including an unnamed oviraptorid, Banji long, Ganzhousaurus nankangensis and Jiangxisaurus ganzhouensis. The relatively short dentary and non-downturned mandibular symphysis of Nankangia suggest that it may have been more herbivorous than carnivorous.


Ningyuansaurus is a basal oviraptorosaurian dinosaur genus. It contains the single species Ningyuansaurus wangi, known from a fossil specimen from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation (Aptian stage, 124.6 Ma ago) of Jianchang, western Liaoning Province, People's Republic of China. It is thought to be the basalmost species of oviraptorosaur, based on its long skull and a greater number of teeth in comparison to any other known oviraptorosaur. The generic name Ningyuansaurus is derived from Ningyuan, an ancient name for Xingcheng City. The specific name honors Wang Qiuwu, the private owner of the specimen who donated it for scientific study. The specimen is currently housed in the Confuciusornis Museum in Xingcheng.


Oviraptor is a genus of small Mongolian theropod dinosaurs, first discovered by technician George Olsen in an expedition led by Roy Chapman Andrews, and first described by Henry Fairfield Osborn, in 1924. Its name is Latin for 'egg taker' or "egg seizer", referring to the fact that the first fossil specimen was discovered atop a pile of what were thought to be Protoceratops eggs, and the specific name philoceratops means "lover of ceratopsians", also given as a result of this find. In his 1924 paper, Osborn explained that the name was given due to the close proximity of the skull of Oviraptor to the nest (it was separated from the eggs by only 4 inches or 10 centimetres of sand). However, Osborn also suggested that the name Oviraptor "may entirely mislead us as to its feeding habits and belie its character". In the 1990s, the discovery of nesting oviraptorids like Citipati proved that Osborn was correct in his caution regarding the name. These finds showed that the eggs in question probably belonged to Oviraptor itself, and that the specimen was actually brooding its eggs, when it died at the nest.

Oviraptor lived in the late Cretaceous period, during the late Campanian stage about 75 million years ago; only one definitive specimen is known (with associated eggs), from the Djadokhta Formation of Mongolia, though a possible second specimen (also with eggs) comes from the northeast region of Inner Mongolia, China, in an area called Bayan Mandahu.


Oviraptorosaurs ("egg thief lizards") are a group of feathered maniraptoran dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period of what are now Asia and North America. They are distinct for their characteristically short, beaked, parrot-like skulls, with or without bony crests atop the head. They ranged in size from Caudipteryx, which was the size of a turkey, to the 8 metre long, 1.4 ton Gigantoraptor. The group (along with all maniraptoran dinosaurs) is close to the ancestry of birds. Analyses like those of Maryanska et al (2002) and Osmólska et al. (2004) suggest that they may represent primitive flightless birds. The most complete oviraptorosaur specimens have been found in Asia. The North American oviraptorosaur record is sparse.The earliest and most basal ("primitive") known oviraptorosaurs are Ningyuansaurus wangi, Protarchaeopteryx robusta and Incisivosaurus gauthieri, both from the lower Yixian Formation of China, dating to about 125 million years ago during the Aptian age of the early Cretaceous period. A tiny neck vertebra reported from the Wadhurst Clay Formation of England shares some features in common with oviraptorosaurs, and may represent an earlier occurrence of this group (at about 140 million years ago).


Protarchaeopteryx (meaning "before Archaeopteryx") is a genus of turkey-sized feathered theropod dinosaur from China. Known from the Jianshangou bed of the Yixian Formation, it lived during the early Aptian age of the Early Cretaceous, approximately 124.6 million years ago. It was probably an herbivore or omnivore, although its hands were very similar to those of small carnivorous dinosaurs. It appears to be one of the most basal members of the Oviraptorosauria, closely related to or synonymous with Incisivosaurus.

Sexual selection

Sexual selection is a mode of natural selection where members of one biological sex choose mates of the other sex to mate with (intersexual selection), and compete with members of the same sex for access to members of the opposite sex (intrasexual selection). These two forms of selection mean that some individuals have better reproductive success than others within a population, either from being more attractive or preferring more attractive partners to produce offspring. For instance, in the breeding season, sexual selection in frogs occurs with the males first gathering at the water's edge and making their mating calls: croaking. The females then arrive and choose the males with the deepest croaks and best territories. Generalizing, males benefit from frequent mating and monopolizing access to a group of fertile females. Females have a limited number of offspring they can have and they maximize the return on the energy they invest in reproduction.

The concept was first articulated by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace who described it as driving species adaptations and that many organisms had evolved features whose function was deleterious to their individual survival, and then developed by Ronald Fisher in the early 20th century. Sexual selection can, typically, lead males to extreme efforts to demonstrate their fitness to be chosen by females, producing sexual dimorphism in secondary sexual characteristics, such as the ornate plumage of birds such as birds of paradise and peafowl, or the antlers of deer, or the manes of lions, caused by a positive feedback mechanism known as a Fisherian runaway, where the passing-on of the desire for a trait in one sex is as important as having the trait in the other sex in producing the runaway effect. Although the sexy son hypothesis indicates that females would prefer male offspring, Fisher's principle explains why the sex ratio is 1:1 almost without exception. Sexual selection is also found in plants and fungi.

The maintenance of sexual reproduction in a highly competitive world is one of the major puzzles in biology given that asexual reproduction can reproduce much more quickly as 50% of offspring are not males, unable to produce offspring themselves. Many non-exclusive hypotheses have been proposed, including the positive impact of an additional form of selection, sexual selection, on the probability of persistence of a species.

Timeline of oviraptorosaur research

This timeline of oviraptorosaur research is a chronological listing of events in the history of paleontology focused on the oviraptorosaurs, a group of beaked, bird-like theropod dinosaurs. The early history of oviraptorosaur paleontology is characterized by taxonomic confusion due to the unusual characteristics of these dinosaurs. When initially described in 1924 Oviraptor itself was thought to be a member of the Ornithomimidae, popularly known as the "ostrich" dinosaurs, because both taxa share toothless beaks. Early caenagnathid oviraptorosaur discoveries like Caenagnathus itself were also incorrectly classified at the time, having been misidentified as birds.The hypothesis that caenagnathids were birds was questioned as early as 1956 by Romer, but not corrected until Osmolska formally reclassified them as dinosaurs in 1976. Meanwhile, the classification of Oviraptor as an ornithomimid persisted unquestioned by researchers like Romer and Steel until the early 1970s when Dale Russell argued against the idea in 1972. In 1976 when Osmolska recognized Oviraptor's relationship with the Caenagnathids, she also recognized that it was not an ornithomimid and reclassified it as a member of the former family. However, that same year Rinchen Barsbold argued that Oviraptor belonged to a distinct family he named the Oviraptoridae and he also formally named the Oviraptorosauria later in the same year.Like their classification, the paleobiology of oviraptorosaurs has been subject to controversy and reinterpretation. The first scientifically documented Oviraptor skeleton was found lying on a nest of eggs. Because its powerful parrot-like beak appeared well-adapted to crushing hard food items and the eggs were thought to belonged to the neoceratopsian Protoceratops, oviraptorosaurs were thought to be nest-raiders that preyed on the eggs of other dinosaurs. In the 1980s, Barsbold proposed that oviraptorosaurs used their beaks to crack mollusk shells as well. In 1993, Currie and colleagues hypothesized that small vertebrate prey may have also been part of the oviraptorosaur diet. Not long after, fossil embryonic remains cast doubt on the popular reconstruction of oviraptorosaurs as egg thieves when it was discovered that the "Protoceratops" eggs that Oviraptor was thought to be "stealing" actually belonged to Oviraptor itself. The discovery of additional Oviraptor preserved on top of nests in lifelike brooding posture firmly established that oviraptorosaurs had been "framed" as egg thieves and were actually caring parents incubating their own nests.

Xu Xing (paleontologist)

Xu Xing (Chinese: 徐星; pinyin: Xú Xīng; born 1969) is a Chinese paleontologist who has named more dinosaurs than any other living paleontologist. Such dinosaurs include the Jurassic ceratopsian Yinlong, the Jurassic tyrannosauroid Guanlong, the large oviraptorosaur Gigantoraptor, and the troodontid Mei. He was born in Xinjiang, China, in 1969. A graduate from the department of geology of Peking University, he is currently a research fellow at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. He had originally planned to become a software designer. However, he was assigned to the department of geology as the university's department of physics did not have any admission quota in Xinjiang. He graduated in 1995, and claims inspiration from Roy Chapman Andrews.Among Xu's paleontological contributions have been discovery and analysis of dinosaur fossils with avian characteristics, and development of theories in regarding the evolution of feathers.

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