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The Yixian formation biota by paleosir The Yixian formation biota by paleosir
Not all of course! But a lot!=P (Razz) 

Ok, so I've decided to do it more like a field guide style, with more info on the animals and the formation itself, and I have put extra work in it to make it more badass.
Cuz Yixian deserves that.
And you voted for it. :I 


*takes a deep breath*



The Yixian formation is an early cretaceous geological formation from Jinzhou, Liaoning in China.
It is well renowned for it's huge ammount of fossils, including many exquisitely preserved ones, to such an extent that we could figure out the colours of some of the animals.
In the early cretaceous, the Yixian would have had a moderate year round temperature, and was able to support a rich aboreal fauna, with many species of enantiorniths (primitive birds) , pterosaurs, and climbing deinonychosaurs such as Sinornithosaurus millennii.
The formation was wel-watered with lots of streams crossing the ancient landscape, and volcanoes (both of which accounted for the extremely nice preservational conditions).
While the formation is mainly known from it's tiny feathered denizens, it also supported some ferocious beasts and big herbivores, namely the famous fuzzed 9m tyrannosauroid Yutyrannus huali and the bulky 14m long ophistocoelicaudine Dongbeititan dongi.
The formation's flora was comprised mostly of many species of conifers, ferns, ginkgo's, horsetails and even a lot of flowering plants, among which was the oldest carnivorous plant known thus far.
There are also many known arthropods from the formation, ranging from a few species of flies and wasps, to spiders and dragonflies, eaten by the local birds, pterosaurs and maybe some non avian dinosaurs.

Let's get started to the specific animals that I have illustrated here:
*behaviours and colours are speculative unless otherwise noted*

1. Callobatrachus sanyanensis : this ~10cm long anuran is considered the most basal member of the discoglossidae family, and was likely prey to many aquatic and semi-aquatic animals, as well as birds such as Changchengornis and some piscivorous pterosaurs.

2. Repenomanus robustus: Often being hailed as ''the mammal that ate dinosaurs!!1!!!'' this carnivorous mammal was indeed very big by mammalian standards of it's age.
It was however, just under 3 ft long and was preyed upon by many Yixian dinosaurs, and was pressed away into the niche of small generalistic forager.
It's larger cousing would have been 12-16 kg.

3. Sinocalliopteryx gigas: this fluffy predator is the largest compsognathid discovered thus far, and would have been a deadly predator.
The holotype was 2,4 m long, but a larger specimen has been discovered since then.
It would have been an agile predator of smaller animals, which are abundantly represented in the fossil record of the Yixian.

4.Beipiaosaurus inexpectus: this basal therizinosaur is prey to Yutyrannus and if unlucky also to Sinocalliopteryx, but it did have good ways of defending itself: it had strong arms topped with 3 large, curved claws, and it could climb trees.
The fossils preserve feathers, and before Yutyrannus, it was the largest non-avian dinosaur with feathers discovered.
Through research it was found out that it's neck fuzz was partially brown.

5.Hyphalosaurus lingyuanensis : This aquatic reptile represented a major part of the yixian formation aquatic biota, with literally thousands of fossils representing it. It would have been an agile swimmer preying on small fish and swimming invertebrates.
It would have been prey to the larger pterosaurs from the yixian, as well as small theropods that would have ''fished' occasionally.

6. Protopsephurus liui : A 80cm long paddlefish related to, and really similar to, modern paddlefish.
Their noses are highly sensitive and are used to sense movement in the water.
These fish feed by filtering water through their gills and open mouth, like a miniature basking shark.
A fairly common prey item for fishing theropods.

7. Sinornithosaurus millenni: An aboreal, gliding dromaeosaurid with large wings.
It is the bane of all things small, like it's cousin Microraptor and Changyuraptor also were.
The range of prey items is quite impressive: they hunt fish, birds, other non-avian dinosaurs such as Jeholosaurus and juveniles of many species, as well as the eggs. 
I have illustrated it slighly too big here btw.

8. Caudipteryx zoui : A chicken-like theropod that scurries around in the underbrush, moving in small flocks of 3-7 individuals.
They usually eat seeds, tubers and larvae, as well as fallen fruits and small vertebrates such as lizards (Liushusaurus, Xianglong etc).
A favourite prey item of Sinocallopteryx, as well as Dilong.
they take care of their chicks.
[It was black instead of the colour shown here, I found out after I made this drawing]

9.Dilong paradoxus: The tiny tyrant.
This 1,6m tyrannosauroid (this is not fully grown, adults may have been 2m or slighly more) is a very swift hunter in loosely organized mobs.
They often move in groups with a hierarchy similar to groups of crocodiles, and can easily overwhelm Beipiaosaurus.
Though they prefer less fierce prey most of the time.

10. Jeholosaurus shangyuanensis: is the Yixian equivalent of a rabbit: it is small, fast, nervous and burrows.
The holotype was around 70cm long and 30cm tall, but it was not fully grown. Adult size is not known.
They breed very quickly, and get killed off very quickly because many predators eat them.
Jeholosaurus' diet mainly consists of seeds, leaves, fruits and small insects.

11. Zhenyuanlong suni : this large-winged dromaeosaurid is the first terrestrial ''raptor'' with well preserved feather covering, so it is quite significant for our understanding of dromaeosaurid integument.
It is a roughly 1,7m long predator that mainly hunts smaller animals, but also occasionally hunts animals as large or slighly larger than itself.
They are solitary predators and mate for life, like raptors.

12. Bolong yixianensis: is a common low browser that moves in loose herds of a few individuals, mixed ages.
They are often quite calm because not many animals hunt them, but a large Yutyrannus huali can easily pick one off, but subadult Yutyrannus have to watch out for the fury of angered herds.
They have strong hands and beaks for more tough plant material than most herbivores in the formation.

13. Yutyrannus huali : The unchallenged apex predator of the formation (except for that undescribed possible carnosaur :I).
It is a primitive, 9m long tyrannosauroid, and was completely covered in simple feathers, with the longest ones of the neck and arms.
In hunting style it is more similar to carnosaurs than to Tyrannosaurus itself: with cutting teeth and long claws.
They sometimes hunt in small units, but these can split apart when food is scarce, and form again when food is abundant: a large group is the only animal capable of killing (almost)adult (but sick) Dongbeititan dongi.

14. Psittacosaurus lujiatunensis: a basal 1,7m long ceratopsian with quills on it's tail.
It is the only mesozoic scaly animal with a known colour scheme, as depicted here.
It eats anything that fits in it's mouth and is digestible, meaning it eats lots of fibrous plant material, as well as small invertebrates and lizards, not unlike a modern boar.
It's temperament is also boar-like, it can deliver a nasty bite or a spiky tail slap.

15. Dongbeititan dongi: the true titan of the formation (though still small by sauropod standards) towers over all animals except Euhelopus sp..
It's bulky body and armor make it nearly immume to predation when adult, but juveniles are very vulnerable.
It feeds of the higher vegetation, and often pushes over trees to make them easier to reach.
No predator wants to mess with these.

16. Moganopterys zhuiana: the largest Yixian pterosaur is a delicate animal that feeds on aquatic animals such as fish, slugs and small Hyphalosaurus.
It has a wingspan of over 5m, possibly 7m, making it quite imposing, but it is really light.
They are almost exclusively found around the abundant Yixian lakes, and stroll through the shallow water like a heron or a stork, probing the ground with it's needle-like jaw.

17. Gladocephaloides jingangshanensis: Are small pterosaurs that fly around the well-watered marshes on the hunt for tiny shellfish and crustaceans and fish.
They are great flyers but also spend a lot of time swimming, diving after their preferred prey items.
Their wingspan is a little over 60cm.

18. Beipiaopterus chenianus: is a ctenochasmid pterosaur, overall very similar to Glabocephaloides but instead filters microscopic life from the water, and is overall a little larger.

19. Bohaiornis guoi: the largest enantiornithine, and likely raptorial in nature, this beefy bird is a winged menace to many smaller animals, including pterosaurs.
It has a broad snout lined with sharp teeth and it has strong claws used to dispatch prey.
They don't have the wings suited for long flight and soaring: instead, it flies from brach to branch and takes a vantage point to attack other animals, not unlike a goshawk.
Crap: made a scaling error, making the individual shown here too big!

20. Shanweiniao cooperorum: a relatively small bird that feeds on seeds and other plant matter, it lives in small, lively flocks and cheerfully tweets through the forest. :3
They are agile flyers, but still sometimes prey to Bohaiornis.

21. Confuciornis sanctus: this generalistic, beautiful bird is the oldest bird with a beak, making it look pretty modern.
Until you see it's large manual claws, probably used to cling on treebark and rockfaces, as well as titanosauriforms.
They have large ribbon-like feathers on it's tail, with beautiful feathers.
Their flight skills aren't the best though.

22. Lichnoplecia kovalevi: at the base of the foodchain we find this diminutive fly. Poor thing. Located next to that black spot. 
XD


PHEW. That is a long description, so here is a TD;LR: Yixian is awesome!

I hope you guys enjoyed it:) (Smile) 

References used do not belong to me, they belong to:
BricksmashTV
GetAwayTrike
Pteros
Frans-Jozef
Randomdinos
rest is extrapolated from fossils.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconsususketches:
SusuSketches Featured By Owner 15 hours ago  New Deviant Hobbyist General Artist
This looks very good!
Awesome - Keep it up!
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner 15 hours ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks a lot!
This deviations seems to keep being popular XD

Wow. It keeps getting new faves =P (Razz) 
Reply
:iconsususketches:
SusuSketches Featured By Owner 15 hours ago  New Deviant Hobbyist General Artist
:> 
It´s well done and I love dinoooos :D
Reply
:iconrajaharimau98:
RajaHarimau98 Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
One thing I love about your pieces like this one are not only do you show everything in scale and also tell us what everything is, but at the same time suggest likely niches and behaviour for these creatures as well. :D
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thanks! 
Reply
:iconmegasupream:
Megasupream Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
That's a lot of work on the description!
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
yes, indeed.
Reply
:iconinmyarmsinmyarms:
"Repenomanus giganticus: Often being hailed as ''the mammal that ate dinosaurs!!1!!!'' this carnivorous mammal was indeed very big by mammalian standards of it's age.
It was however, just under 3 ft long and was preyed upon by many Yixian dinosaurs, and was pressed away into the niche of small generalistic forager."


Eh, not quite.

Size estimates push it around 12-16 kilos, which is more or less the size range as modern wolverines and ratels.

You must be mistaking this for R. robustus, which was opossum sized.

Also, eutriconodonts were specialised carnivores.
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah, then I shall change the species to robustus, both were present in the Yixian formation.

12-16 kg? wow.

Thanks for the info.
Reply
:iconinmyarmsinmyarms:
Inmyarmsinmyarms Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2016
Indeed. Knowing modern wolverines, tasmanian devils and analogous mammals it was probably on the "mid-size" carnivore range. Most of the theropods (sans Yutyrannus) are visibly more gracile predators.

There are many eutriconodonts in the Yixian. Gobiconodon was also robust but smaller at around opossum size, Jeholodens was small and tree-shrew like and Yanoconodon was the otter-analogue
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah, I agree.
I don't know that much about mammals you know.
Thanks a lot for the information.

However, I do think that Sinocalliopteryx would have been a predator of larger animals, because while the holotype was 237cm, a new specimen was discovered that was even bigger (and the holotype would have weighed roughly 20-25 kg).
Dilong paradoxus was also juvenile, and the holotype was ~160cm.
Zhenyuanlong suni was pretty robust, and ~165cm long with restored tail, and was also subadult.
And there's and indeterminate carnosaur from the Yixian (though I'm betting it's just a misidentified Yutyrannus, as it's just from teeth)

So Repenomanus has some fierce competition in the small-medium carnivore niche.
Reply
:iconfloyatoy:
Floyatoy Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2017
Actually, there is some skeletal material from a possible carnosaur.  It's mentioned on Mickey Mortimer's theropod database

"Zhao and Xu, 2008. A new theropod from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation of Western Liaoning, China. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 28(3), 164A."  Apart from Mickey's site, I can't find much about it online.  
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hmm, I only heard about the teeth :)
Reply
:iconinmyarmsinmyarms:
Inmyarmsinmyarms Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2016
True.
Reply
:iconatlantis536:
Atlantis536 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016
Psitaccosaurus has its colors now! Brown on top, lighter on the bottom.
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I know.
I illustrated it that way, but it's not that well visible.
Reply
:iconrandomscales:
RandomScales Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2016  Student Digital Artist
now thats impressive! :O_o:
and thanks for the detailed description :)
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks!
The description almost took as long as the drawing.
Reply
:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Good stuff. I can definitely see the increase in skill.
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh, if I'm not bothering:
Do you have any tips on the Dongbeititan or is it accurate?
Reply
:iconpaleo-king:
Paleo-King Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Hard to tell since the Dongbeititan type specimen is so incomplete, but from what I have seen it looks VERY close to Opisthocoelicaudia, so your long low torso looks pretty accurate... I would just change the head to a more saltasaur or nemegtosaur-like one. And the armor may have been the saltasaurus-type rather than the spiky lognkosaur type you drew here. (which means I am going to have to draw spikes on my lognkosaurs.... GRRRRRRR thats a lot of work, I may just stop the forgotten giants and only do skeletals with spikes lol).
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah, the head....I thought the head would probably be problematic :)
I asked BricksmashTV about the armor, and I found out about that later, sadly (after I traced the original pencil lineart with pen...).

I do like the spiked look of longkosaurs, but I don't mind updating mine (though making the chart took a long time, I may not be able to make a similar quality remake sadly).
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconvalia2305:
Valia2305 Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
SOOO INFORMATIIIIVE
IT's MORE INFORMATIVE THAN THE FACT THAT DAMNANIMAL CRUNCHERS FEEL BOTH SMOOTH AND CRUNCHY IN YOUR MOUTH!!!
If you're derpy enough... Blend into the weird side of youtube and JOIN THE ARMY!!!
youtu.be/unSEV4v3qJI
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Didn't know that about the damnanimal crunchers. 
Thanks for the info!
Reply
:iconvalia2305:
Valia2305 Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
Your deviation is more informative than the info i just gave you
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yuy
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks!
It took a lot of research, but it paid of :)
Reply
:iconanonymousllama428:
AnonymousLlama428 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Wait......... Dongbeititan dongi's neck pattern looks like it's made of sliced salami.
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
CRAP.

XD




Now I hope none of my Nemegt animals look like food....
Reply
:iconanonymousllama428:
AnonymousLlama428 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
They're all edible........
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
true.
I think Teviornis would taste like duck.
Gallimimus and Anserimimus like ostrich.
Reply
:iconthe-changeling-king:
the-Changeling-King Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Nice shade work, only thing I could say is make your Dongbeititan's neck more strait. Other than that it looks really nice.
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks a lot!
I disagree about that though.
Reply
:iconthedubstepaddict:
TheDubstepAddict Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
mogano seems so small on the ground. look at this:

www.deviantart.com/art/Moganop…
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Size seems pretty much right.
I have illustrated a pretty large individual here, the holotype (illustrated by Hyrotrioskjan) has a rougly 5m wingspan, while my individual shown is halfway between the paratype (7m) and the holotype.
Reply
:iconthedubstepaddict:
TheDubstepAddict Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No. Wasn't critique, I was just realizing that it looks so much smaller when it walks.

Fucking amazing.

That doesn't happen to other pterosaurs. It probably gives this impression because I'm used to small ctenochasmatoids. Mind blown.
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah, well that makes sense because it's wing membranes make it look enormous, while it has a tiny body.
Reply
:iconthedubstepaddict:
TheDubstepAddict Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yep
Reply
:icontidalwave21:
tidalwave21 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2016
Proof beipiaosaurus climbed trees?
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I should add, all behaviour and colour is speculative unless otherwise noted.

But Beipiaosaurus is pretty small and has huge curved manual claws, I'd say it could easily climb trees.
Reply
:icontidalwave21:
tidalwave21 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2016
I see, thanks.
Reply
:iconcovelloraptor:
Covelloraptor Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
Brilliant attention to detail but only one question...where's sinotyrannus?
other than that it's brilliant!
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Sinotyrannus is from the Jiufotang, and even if it did live in the Yixian, I would not have added it due to space.
Thanks a lot!
Reply
:iconladyokamitaka:
LadyOkamiTaka Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
great as always 😍
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you very much!
Reply
:iconrizkiusmaulanae:
RizkiusMaulanae Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
This is beautiful m8

Keep up your good work *thumbs up*
Reply
:iconpaleosir:
paleosir Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks!:D (Big Grin) 
Reply
:iconantonellisofbbender:
AntonellisofbBender Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2016  Student Filmographer
WOW
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