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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 125Ma
Fossil Japan.jpg
Specimen IVPP V14322
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Troodontidae
Genus: Sinovenator
Xu et al., 2002
  • S. changii Xu et al., 2002 (type)

Sinovenator (meaning "Chinese - hunter") is a genus of troodontid dinosaur from China. It is from the early Cretaceous Period. Two fossils were originally found in the Lujiatun Beds of the lower Yixian Formation in China, about 125 million years ago (Ma) during the Aptian age.[1]

The type species, Sinovenator changii, was described by Xu, Norell, Wang, Makovicky and Wu in 2002.[2] The generic name is derived from the Latin word venator = hunter and the Sinae = China. The specific name honours the Chinese paleontologist Meemann Chang.[2]


Size of Sinovenator compared to a human.

The type specimen or holotype of Sinovenator changii is IVPP 12615, a partial skull and disarticulated skeleton. One additional specimen was by the original publication scientifically described and referred to the species: an incomplete but articulated postcranial skeleton, numbered IVPP 12583. Both are in the collection of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, China. However, Sinovenator fossils appear to be common in the Lujiatun Beds. In a 2006 survey of the Jehol Biota, Xu and Norell reported that hundreds of undescribed specimens are known.[3]

Sinovenator was a primitive troodontid, and shares features with the most primitive dromaeosaurids and Avialae, one of the first fossil specimens conclusively demonstrating the common inheritance of these three groups (together known as Paraves). The holotype individual of Sinovenator was about the size of a chicken, less than a metre long.[2]


  1. ^ Zhou, Z. (2006). "Evolutionary radiation of the Jehol Biota: chronological and ecological perspectives." Geological Journal, 41: 377–393.
  2. ^ a b c Xu, Xing, Norell, Mark A., Wang, Xiao-Lin, Makovicky, Peter J., Wu, Xiao-Chun. (2002) "A basal troodontid from the Early Cretaceous of China" "Nature"415:780-784. 14 February 2002
  3. ^ Xu, X. and Norell, M.A. (2006). "Non-Avian dinosaur fossils from the Lower Cretaceous Jehol Group of western Liaoning, China."Geological Journal, 41: 419–437.

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