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Microraptor and Sinornis (recoloured)

By Gogosardina
2011, acrylics, photography & digital

120 million years ago, Early Cretaceous (Aptian), Jiufotang Formation, Liaoning, China

In the branches of a gingko, the 4-winged dromaeosaur Microraptor gui pounces on an enantiornithine bird (Sinornis santensis). Briefly losing balance as it clutches the screeching avian, the dinosaur feels around with it's clawed foot to gain a secure purchase before finishing off it's victim with a bite to the head.

A fossil skeleton of Microraptor was described in 2011 showing the partially arcticulated remains of a tree-dwelling enantiornithine in it's tummy. This not only provided direct evidence of Micro's predatory habits, but was viewed as corroborating the idea of an arboreal lifestyle for this dinosaur.

Artwork originally published in: O'Connor, Jingmai; Zhou, Zhonghe and Xu, Xing Xu. Additional specimen of Microraptor provides unique evidence of dinosaurs preying on birds. PNAS November 21, 2011

UPDATE 29/05/2012: Microraptor is recoloured with modifications to the caudal rectrices based on data provided in: Quanguo Li et al. (2012) Reconstruction of Microraptor and the Evolution of Iridescent Plumage. Science Vol. 335 no. 6073 pp. 1215-1219.
Image details
Image size
6307x6800px 5.51 MB
Shutter Speed
10/600 second
Focal Length
83 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jul 12, 2011, 6:09:53 PM
© 2012 - 2021 Gogosardina
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DinoDilopho's avatar
I am completely convinced that this is a photograph from 120 million years ago. These animals mesh so well with their environment.
MoonshineDragon010's avatar
Amazing job! Love how you seamlessly combined your perfect Microraptor art with the photograph as the background!
JokerCarnage5's avatar
HUBLERDON's avatar
Awesome design, and completely accurate!
FluffyPlesiosaur's avatar
You managed to capture all of this dinosaur's beauty and grace, and kept it as realistic as it can be. It is very rare to find paleoart like yours. Thanks for this wonderful piece.
Falken02's avatar
looks beautiful :)
Falken02's avatar
Looks beautiful
Vorseth's avatar
Dino at the beach! by Vorseth   Hey Mate you inspired me, Check out mine :)
aspidel's avatar
Among the best restorations of Microraptor I've ever seen. In the 3 top ones anyway IMO.
Gogosardina's avatar
Thanks... well I had the unfair advantage of having the specimen alongside my desk for almost a whole year.
aspidel's avatar
Yeah, sure... but the specimen is still made of crushed bones and fluff imprints in mudstone (although a beautiful fossil).
But  then, one must flesh it out, bring fluff and feathers, and the life in the eyes, and you did it very well.
Heytomemeimhome's avatar
What a bird eat bird world, huh?
thedinorocker's avatar
Love at first sight
TheARBL's avatar
This is incredibly realistic! It's very hard to tell where the Microraptor and Sinornis end, and where the photograph background begins.
Patrikia-Bear's avatar
OMG. Just what wizardry what even.

IT LOOKS SO REAL. And I know the background is a photo but THE MICRORAPTOR. ASKLDAFL.
Ebervalius's avatar
Incredible! Sinornis looks very real...
Dana-Ulama's avatar
microraptor was named "fossil of the year 2006"!
Gogosardina's avatar
I'm curious - what competition was this?
Dana-Ulama's avatar
hm... i read it on wiki but its not there anymore... perhaps it was a spectacular fossil discovery for scientists and thats why they namend it fossil of the year.
sii-kei's avatar
It's as if if I looked outside the window, I could just see the Microraptor jumping through branches chasing little prehistoric birds. Yup, your drawing is that amazing!
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