Dinosaurs Connections

The Search For the Missing Link

What is the bird-like animal named Unenlagia comahuensis?

Unenlagia comahuensis, or the “half-bird from northwest Patagonia,” was a dinosaur living approximately 90 million years ago. Similar to many other recent reptile discoveries, the animal had bird-like characteristics that interest scientists.

Some scientists believe that Unenlagia comahuensis is the actual missing link between birds and dinosaurs. Although apparently too big to fly, the Unenlagia comahuensis had several characteristics in common with birds, including arms that could flap like wings and a bird-like pelvis. In particular, the 5-foot-(1.5-meter-) tall dinosaur had a shoulder blade (scapula) that shared some characteristics with birds; the forearm socket in this bone pointed out toward the side rather than down and back, as seen in other primitive, bird-like dinosuars such as the Deinonychus. In addition, the Unenlagia’s triangular pelvis looks like a cross between those in the Deinonychus and Archaeopteryx.


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