Masiakasaurus wasn’t the only dinosaur to have strange teeth. Meet Incisivosaurus, the buck-toothed (and quite possibly inbred) distant cousin of Velociraptor. The maniraptora dinosaur family (of which Incisivosaurus is a member of) is best known for its sickle clawed killers such Deinonychus and Utahraptor which were cunning pack hunters more than capable of taking down prey many times their size. By contrast, Incisivosaurus, with its lack of deadly weapons, seemed fairly under equipped to kill, well, pretty much anything. On the plus side, it could use its weird overbite and wonky teeth to do a really good impression of Cletus the slack jawed yokel.
When most people think of dinosaurs they think of gigantic, hulking monstrosities that noisily stomped their way through life. Epidexipteryx hui was quite the opposite. With a body length of only ten inches, it was one of the smallest dinosaurs of all. While its diminutive size was remarkable, Epidexipteryx‘s strangest feature was its disproportionately long fingers which it seems to have used to climb trees. It is also believed that Epidexipteryx could use its long fingers to probe deep into
your eye sockets tree trunks in order to snare wood burrowing grubs. Such a feeding strategy is implemented by a modern day mammal called the aye aye, which lives in Madagascar.
Epidexipteryx also had elaborate ornamental tail feathers. This surprised many dinosaur experts when the creature was described in 2008 as Epidexipteryx lived in the middle of the Jurassic and such a fancy form of dinosaur decoration wasn’t expected to show up in the fossil record until millions of years later. truly, Epidexipteryx was a dinosaur fashion icon way ahead of its time.
Epidexipteryx wasn’t the only strange creature that inhabited the trees of the dinosaur world. Microraptor was a member of the dromaeosaur family (or ‘raptor’ family as they are more commonly known). While most dromaeosaurs were fleet footed hunters which chased their prey on the ground, Microraptor, by contrast, would have been extremely awkward when moving on the ground so would have spent most of its time in the trees, or rather, between them. That is to say that Microraptor was an expert glider which used its four (yes four!) wings to make its way from tree to tree. It needed to be one too as it shared its habitat with a larger and nastier type of gliding raptor called Sinornithosaurus which certainly would have viewed Microraptor as a meal (and, according to some outspoken researchers, might even have been venomous!) – if it could catch it that is (Repeat after me, four wings good, two wings bad…)! The woodlands of Cretaceous China no doubt played host to many a thrilling aerial chase between these two aerodynamic raptors.
And finally, the weirdest dinosaur of all can be found on Page 5: