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Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 85Ma
Patagopteryx skeleton.jpg
Skeleton restoration
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Patagopterygiformes
Family: Patagopterygidae
Alvarenga & Bonaparte, 1992
Genus: Patagopteryx
Alvarenga & Bonaparte, 1992
Species: P. deferrariisi
Alvarenga & Bonaparte, 1992

Patagopteryx is an extinct monotypic genus of birds that lived during the Late Cretaceous, around 80 mya, in what is now the Sierra Barrosa in northwestern Patagonia, Argentina.[1] About the size of a chicken, it is the earliest known unequivocal example of secondary flightlessness: its skeleton shows clear indications that the ancestors of Patagopteryx were flying birds. See also Origin of Birds.


Located in strata of the Santonian Bajo de la Carpa Formation, the original remains were discovered by Oscar de Ferrariis, Director of the Natural History Museum of the Comahue National University in Neuquén around 1984-5. He passed them onto noted paleontologist José Bonaparte, who described the species Patagopteryx deferrariisi in 1992.


  1. ^ H. M. F. Alvarenga and J. F. Bonaparte. 1992. A new flightless landbird from the Cretaceous of Patagonia. Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Science Series 36:51-64 [J. Hunter/J. Hunter/J. Hunter]