Confuciusornithidae Skeleton Panel measures 12.3×8.5 in. Confuciusornis Skeleton Panel is museum quality polyurethane resin cast. Made in USA

Confuciusornithidae is a genus of basal crow-sized avialan from the Early Cretaceous Period of the Yixian and Jiufotang Formations of China, dating from 125 to 120 million years ago.

Confuciusornithidae was about the size of a modern crow, with a total length of 1.6 feet and a wingspan of up to 2.3 ft. Its body weight has been estimated to have been as much as 1.1 lb.

The skull morphology of Confuciusornis has been difficult to determine, due to the crushed and deformed nature of the fossils. The skull was near triangular in side view, and the toothless beak was robust and pointed.

The front of the Confuciusornithidae jaws had deep neurovascular foramina and grooves, associated with the horn-covered beak. The skull was rather robust, with deep jaws, especially the mandible.

Few specimens preserve the sutures of the braincase, but one specimen shows that the frontoparietal suture crossed the skull just behind the postorbital process and the hindmost wall of the orbit.

The mandible (lower jaw) is one of the best preserved parts of the skull. It was robust, especially at the front third of its length. The tomial crest was straight for its entire length, and a notch indented the sharp tip of the mandible.

The Confuciusornis mandible was spear-shaped in side view, due to its lower margin slanting downwards and back from its tip for the front third of its length.

Confuciusornis had an exceptionally large humerus (upper arm bone). Near its shoulder-end this was equipped with a prominent deltopectoral crest.

Characteristically this crista deltopectoralis was with Confuciusornis pierced by an oval hole which may have reduced the bone’s weight or enlarged the attachment area of the flight muscles.

The wrist of Confuciusornis shows fusion, forming a carpometacarpus. The second and third metacarpals were also partially fused, but the first was unfused, and the fingers could freely move relative to each other.

The second metacarpal, which supported the flight feathers, was very heavily built; its finger carries a small claw. The claw of the first finger to the contrary was very large and curved.