Caudipteryx Dinosaur

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Caudipteryx was a type of small, peacock-sized Early Cretaceous theropods (members of Theropoda, the collection of typically carnivorous dinosaurs that lived about 125 million years ago). Its most remarkable feature was its feathers.

Two species have been named, C.dongi and C.zoui. Caudipteryx fossils were first exposed in the Liaoning Province of northeastern China in 1997. The fossil were now displayed in Hong Kong Science Museum. It had symmetrical, pennaceous feathers on its short tail and hands. The smallness of these feathers and their symmetry point to that Caudipteryx could not fly, but it could possibly have been the descendant of flying ancestors. It is often surmised to have been a herbivore. In cladistic analyses, Caudipteryx is usually shown to be closely connected to the Oviraptoridae.

Paleontologists Alan Feduccia and Larry Martin, however, claim the leftovers are not dinosaurian at all, but those of a bird. They note that the fossils have a short tail, similar to the bird Confusiusornis, and the skull shows many birdlike features that are not found in theropods. Stomach stones were present, which point to that these were herbivores, resembling Enanthiornites and flightless birds. The fossils have no predatory hand claws like theropods, and lack the jagged teeth typical of theropods. Feduccia believe these fossils are flightless birds that evolved from a flying ancestor, almost certainly Archaeopteryx.

Caudipteryx facts:
Name: Caudipteryx (peacock-sized)
Size: 19cm long and 13cm tall
Main Facts: Caudipteryx had a short skull that retained only a small number of teeth in the front of the upper jaw.

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