Pronunciation: rah-hoo-NAY-vis Meaning: Menace-from-the-cloud bird Author/s: Forster et al. (1998) Synonyms: Rahona ostromi First Discovery: Mahajanga, Madagascar Chart Position: 357
Rahonavis was originally pencilled-in as "Rahona" but lasted just 21 days until the authors realised that name was already taken by a much smaller and far less interesting flying beasty—a moth, named by Griveaud way back in 1975. However, by cunningly suffixing "Rahona" ("menace" in Malagasy) with "avis" (bird in Latin) they found a way around the naming issue and managed to perfectly portray both its ability to fly and assumed viscous predatory habits, despite a rather modest size.
(Ostrom's menace-from-the-cloud bird)Etymology
The species epithet, ostromi, honors John Ostrom who breathed new life into Thomas Huxley's much maligned theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs.
DiscoveryRahonavis was discovered in the Anembalemba Member of the Maevarano Formation at Berivotra Village, Mahajanga Province, northwestern Madagascar, by a joint expedition of SUNY (State University of New York) and the University of Antananarivo in 1995. The holotype (UA 8656) is a partial skeleton, recovered from an area "smaller than a letter-sized page", presumably A4. Much of this area is covered in dense grass, but when fire exposed part of a hillside and revealed titanosaur fossils Rahonavis was discovered amongst the remains.