A new avian dinosaur was discovered back in 1999 but its most deadly attribute was not discovered till the last 7 years. Sinornithosaurus was only around 2.5 feet tall and was not just covered with feathers with a large claw on the inner toe like its close raptor cousins. It had the bone structure and perfect amount of coverage, secondary and primary feathers to help it glide throughout the tries of the early Cretaceous period, 123 million years ago. It did not have the proper structure for powered flight but was able to glide with through the dense Cretaceous forests with ease.
Up until about 7 years ago, it was thought that the color of dinosaur feathers was impossible to determine until scientists re-examined Sinornithosaurus fossil in 2010 and discovered that the feathers in this specimen were not just impressions, under the microscope the inner structure of the feathers were remarkably similar to modern birds. Structures that contain the pigment. By comparing these finding with modern bird feather we are now able to determine the exact color of the feathers on these animals over 120 million years in the past.
Sinornithosaurus had a combination of reds, browns, tans and blacks. Perfect for blending in with its forest environment, allowing it to move undetected through the tree tops. Sinornithosaurus Normally an avian dinosaur of this size would not pose a threat to any animal of equal size or larger. But this animal had a potentate secret weapon!
In 2011, a study of the specimens eyes relieved that this animal was capable of hunting during the day and equally at night. Its eyes were large compared o the size of its skull and would have been perfect for seeing in the dark. And a study of its teeth showed something that shocked the Paleontological Society and the world. Something far more deadly.
We have found that Sinornithosaurus teeth had unusual groves down the sides. Very similar to the teeth of the venomous, Gila Monster. The groves of its teeth were used to deliver venom into its victims. The research team even discovered what they think is the venom sack in the fossil. It looked like Sinornithosaurus could glide, hide and kill with poison. Making it a far more deadly predator than anyone had ever imagined.
This is one of the most ground breaking discoveries in the history of paleontology. It also begs the question...How many other dinosaurs were able to kill their prey with a deadly poisonous bite?