Paleontologists Xu Xing and Qin Zi-Chuan have named a tiny species of long-legged raptor dinosaur, Zhongjianosaurus yangi, from 125 million year old rocks in northeastern China.
Like all raptors, technically known as dromaeosaurids, Zhongjianosaurus was a carnivore, using its foot and hand claws to capture prey. Xu and Qin determined that Zhongjianosaurus was a member of the microraptorian lineage of dromaeosaurids. Microraptorians are known to have been fully feathered, with long flight feathers on the wings, tail, and feet. These long feathers were used to create flight surfaces that allowed microraptorians to glide.
The very long legs are reminiscent of living secretary birds, large African hunters who use their long legs to stomp snakes and lizards. Zhongjianosaurus is substantially smaller, and may not have used its legs and feet in the same way. No matter what its hunting strategy, its diet was probably limited to small prey items, including insects and other invertebrates