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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 120Ma
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Subclass: Enantiornithes
Superorder: Euenantiornithes
Genus: Sinornis
Sereno & Rao, 1992
Species: † S. santensis
Binomial name
Sinornis santensis
Sereno & Rao, 1992

Sinornis is a genus of enantiornithine birds. Several referred fossils were recovered from the Jiufotang Formation at Liaoning, People's Republic of China. The Jiufotang overlays the Yixian, which suggests an Aptian or Albian age (between 100-120 million years old), according to Swisher et al. (1999).[1] Sinornis is known only from the type species, Sinornis santensis.


Paul Sereno et al. (2001) considered a similar prehistoric bird species from the same formation, Cathayornis, to be a junior synonym of Sinornis. They interpreted the anatomies of the two as very similar and sharing key autapomorphies of the pygostyle.[2]

However, also in 2001, Zhou and Hou continued to distinguish Cathayornis from Sinornis by the former's larger size, a shorter, straighter, finger number I, with a slightly longer claw (ungual), the absence of an atitrochanter, and other features.[3] A paper describing a second species of Cathayornis in 2008 by Li et al. also considered the genera to be distinct.

The first thorough review of Sinornis and Cathayornis was published by Jingmai O'Connor and Gareth Dyke in 2010. O'Connor and Dyke concluded that despite the 2001 paper by Sereno and colleagues, the two birds were not synonyms and in fact differ in several clear ways, including different proportions in the wing claws and digits, differences in the pelvis, and size of the pygostyle.[4]


  1. ^ Swisher, Carl C., Wang, Yuan-qing, Wang, Xiao-lin, Xu, Xing, Wang, Yuan. (1999). "Cretaceous age for the feathered dinosaurs of Liaoning, China". Nature 400:58-61 1 July 1999.
  2. ^ Sereno, Paul, Chenggang, Rao, Li, Jianjun. (2001) "Sinornis santensis (Aves:Enantiornithes) from the Early Cretaceous of Northeastern China". in "Mesozoic Birds: above the heads of dinosaurs". Chiappe and Witmer, ed. 2001, University of California Press
  3. ^ Zhou, Zhonghe, Hou, Lianhai (2001) "The Discovery and Study of Mesozoic Birds in China" in "Mesozoic Birds: above the heads of dinosaurs". Chiappe and Witmer, ed. 2001, University of California Press
  4. ^ O'Connor, J. and Dyke, G. (2010). "A reassessment of Sinornis santensis and Cathayornis yandica (Aves: Enantiornithes)." Records of the Australian Museum, 62: 7-20. doi:10.3853/J.0067-1975.62.2010.1540