A small bunch of sketches I did today of Shanweiniao cooperorum
, an enantornithine bird from the early Cretaceous of China that has been identified as a longipterygid. Some interesting features include teeth in the premaxilla (which might have been in the dentary as well) and at least 4 rectrices that likely formed a fan-shaped tail capable of generating lift.
The flying sketch I drew with just 4 rectrices, but added a couple more on the preening one as there is a possibility that Shanweiniao
had more, but the impressions on the slab are too faint to be certain.
I drew the "proud-looking" sketch from a photo I took of a Common grackle in a similar pose.
As for the head, I added rictal bristles just because I can, really
, plus it's fun playing around with feather textures. Another reason may have something to do with the fact that I was a bit confused as to the description that was offered by the authors who described Shanweiniao
. The paper stated that it may have been a mud-probing bird, but I find that a bit odd. When I hear mud-probing, I think of certain members of the order Charadriiformes, but the hindlimbs of Shanweiniao
are quite dissimilar to any sandpiper, snipe, plover, etc that I'm aware of. It had short tarsometatarsi that were exceeded in length by all digits except the hallux, which, after doing some leg-measuring, does not seem to be typical in wading birds. The hallux of Shanweiniao
is also fairly long, but this is generally much reduced in wading birds. The last thing is the claws. They're biiig, and resemble those of a passerine, not a little peep (birdwatching term
Of course there's more to it than that, and the authors had a reason to make the suggestions that they did, but that's my two cents worth anyways. In either case, it left me scratching my head. Thoughts?
Edit: I just found that Gogosardina [link]
came to a similar conclusion about Longirostravis
, a longipterygid like Shanweiniao
I also redrew the tail on the flying sketch to make it a consolidated airfoil.
Anyways, it was fun to draw. Done in pencil. Enjoy!