Not Mei long but another sleeping dragon

The little troodontid Mei long was justifiably feted as not only a superb specimen of a very young dinosaur but also for apparently preserving behaviour. For those who don’t know, the name means ‘sleeping dragon’ and the animal does appear to be in a very avian-like resting posture with folded up arms, the head to one side and the tail wrapped around the body. This therefore does provide yet more evidence (if a little circumstantial) for the dinosaur-bird hypothesis.

However, often overlooked is this specimen – the holotype of Sinornithoides described way back in 1993. Another troodontid this one is also preserved in a posture that is near identical to that of Mei. The preservation here is also good though some more preparation would really help. While it may not be too clear from the photo, the animal is seen upsidedown, so you are looking down on the feet and legs and belly and the head is hidden underneath (though is present), the tail is wrapped around the body.

Overall it is remarkably similar to the posture seen in Mei, which gives us confidence that neither was a matter of chance preservation and of course that this posture was common in troodontids and, given it’s similarity to that of birds, probably was normal for other maniraptorans too. This is of course also similar to the posture taken by various oviraptorosaurs that have been found on their nests so it would be no great surprise if we found ornithomimids and therizinosaurs like this one day too.

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