Caudipteryx was a small dinosaur that lived in the early
about 125 million years ago.
of the animal were first discovered in
during the late 1990s.
Caudipteryx was about3½ feet (1 meters) long, and had a mixture of
bird-like and reptile-like features. The bones of its hand, with a reduced
third finger, resembled those of birds, it had a shortened tail, like birds,
teeth like those of primitive birds, possibly a reversed first toe, like that of birds,
as well as over all body proportions which resembled those of modern flightless birds.
Additionally, Caudipteryx is known to have had long feathers on its forearms and tail,
and short downy feathers on its body.
Despite having a number of bird-like features, Caudipteryx is not thought to have
been capable of flight - instead, it is thought to have been a fast runner.
As far as diet is concerned, it is generally thought to have been an omnivore - the
presence of gastroliths (stones that were swallowed to help digest tough plant matter)
in at least two specimens suggest that plant material did form a significant part of
Fossilized Caudipteryx showing feathers:
Caudipteryx was an omnivore (ate meat and plants) that lived about 125 million years ago
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Here is a summary of some of the key facts about Caudipteryx:
- Caudipteryx was a genus of dinosaur.
- "Caudipteryx" means "tail feather".
- Caudipteryx was a member of the Saurischia ("lizard-hipped") order of dinosaurs. What this means, is that although Caudipteryx was not closely related to lizards, it did have similarly shaped pelvic bones.
- Caudipteryx was a Theropod - a member of a group of related bipedal dinosaurs that included the ancestors of birds (although Caudipteryx was not itself an ancestor of birds).
- Caudipteryx lived about 125 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period.
- Caudipteryx lived in China.
- Caudipteryx was a omnivore (ate both meat and plants).
- Caudipteryx is thought to have swallowed stones which would have been used to help grind up food, especially tough plant material (some modern birds do the same thing). Such stones ("gastroliths") have been found in at least two specimens of Caudipteryx.
- Caudipteryx was about 3½ feet (1 meters) long.
- Caudipteryx weighed about 15 pounds (7 kilograms).
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