A-z - Animals

9 feathered dinosaurs

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About 230 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth, but today we only have fossils. The most accepted theory about what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs is the asteroid theory. Feathered dinosaurs live all over the world today and they are called birds.

Birds are close relatives of existing dinosaurs and belong to a kind of reptiles. Birds may not look like some of the dinosaurs you see in movies, but many species of dinosaurs had feathers and resembled the feathered animals we see today.

In this article, you'll learn about 9 feathered dinosaurs. Birds and dinosaurs are closely related, and feathers are a common trait shared by both animals.

1. Amber Trix

Ambopteryx is a genus of feathered dinosaurs that lived in the Late Jurassic. Ambopyeryx logibrachium was the only dinosaur in the genus that resembled today's bats in appearance.

Ambopteryx was covered in bird-like feathers and was known as a batwing dinosaur because of the batwings it used for gliding. This species was a relatively small dinosaur, measuring about 13 inches (32 centimeters) long and weighing only 0.675 pounds (306 grams).

In China in 2017, the species was dug up from the ground as a nearly complete fossil. The wings of this dinosaur set them apart, as only one other species had bat-like wings. The dinosaur's wings were more similar in function to flying squirrels. This dinosaur was omnivorous, eating plants and insects found in its habitat.

2. Yi Dinosaurs

The Yi is a winged dinosaur that lived about 160 million years ago during the Carlovian and Oxford Jurassic periods. They are found in China and are known for their bat-like wings.

Iggy is the full name of this dinosaur, and only one fossil has been found. The Yi only grew to the size of a pigeon, smaller than many of their contemporaneous relatives.

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Yi dinosaurs are maniraptors with feathers all over their bodies. They only weigh about 0.84 lbs (380 g). Their wings are like a bat, helping them glide through the trees.

3. Microraptor

Microraptor 3D illustration on white background
The Microraptor fossil is the first fossil with feathers on its legs.

©Warpaint/Shutterstock.com

Microraptor was a small, carnivorous dinosaur that lived about 125 million years ago during the Early Cretaceous period. They live in what is now China and are a kind of theropod. Microraptor shared features common to other theropods, such as:

  • run on two legs
  • carnivorous diet
  • feathers cover their bodies
  • hollow limb bone
  • long neck and slender body

Microraptor was between 1.4 and 2.7 feet long and had feathers on its legs, body and arms. It is impossible for this species to fly, even though they have four wings. They glide from tree to tree on their wings, spreading their arms like dragonflies.

Small Microraptors were ferocious predators that could effectively use their sharp claws and teeth to hunt down prey.

4. Ornithomimus

Ornithomimus 3D illustration on white background
The ornithomimus dinosaur was similar in appearance to modern ostriches.

©YuRi Photolife/Shutterstock.com

The fastest dinosaur ever recorded, Ornithomimus was a species that lived during the late Cretaceous period. Found worldwide in places like Mongolia and North America, this dinosaur is estimated to be able to run at speeds of 50 miles (31 kilometers) per hour. They grow to about 12 feet (3.6 meters) tall and weigh about 370 pounds (167.8 kilograms). This dinosaur had many bird-like features, such as feathers and bone structure.

Fossils of these dinosaurs have been found in the United States and Canada. Ornithomimus is an important species that demonstrates the close relationship between dinosaurs and birds.

They are omnivores, eating plants, seeds, eggs, insects and small animals. Fossils of ornithomimus suggest that they had legs adapted for fast movement, as well as a long tail that helped stabilize them. Its speed helps it survive and escape the fiercest predators.

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5. Supporting role

skull skeleton
The Conchorpator has no teeth, but has a strong beak.

©Kabacchi/Shutterstock.com

One of the smaller members of the oviraptor family was the Conchoraptor, which only grew to be about 3.3 to 6.6 feet tall (1 to 2 meters). This species lacks teeth, but has a beak similar to that of a bird or a turtle. Their bite is very powerful and can be used to hunt different kinds of food.

This species lived during the Late Cretaceous period, about 66 to 70 million years ago. Conchoraptors had feathers, and some of their fossil remains leave traces of them.

Weighing only about 20 pounds (9 kilograms), the dinosaur was smaller than most. The species reproduced by laying eggs similar to other oviraptorids. The Conchoraptor's hollow skeleton and skull shape made it possible for this species to have extraordinary hearing.

6. Zhen Yuanlong

Zhenyuanlong was a feathered non-avian dinosaur with complex wings.

© Mark Brandon/Shutterstock.com

Zhenyuanlong lived in the late Cretaceous period about 125 million years ago and was a species of feathered dinosaur that roamed the earth. This dinosaur resembled a bird, with large wings and a tail.

They stand about 5.4 feet (1.6 meters) tall, weigh 44 pounds (19.9 kilograms), and cannot fly because their wings are not strong enough to support their weight.

Jinyoulong dinosaurs were terrestrial and reproduced by laying eggs. The skull and bone structures suggest that they were carnivores, similar to other raptor species. Zhenyuansaurus dinosaurs were very bird-like, and their fossils help show the connection between birds and dinosaurs. The fossil of this species was found by a farmer in China, and it is almost complete.

7. Kurindama

Kulindadromues were feathered theropod dinosaurs that lived during the Jurassic period. This species lives in the Siberian region of Russia and feeds on plants. They are about 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) tall and walk on two legs.

The fossilized quills on their backs are why these dinosaurs were found to have feathers. Feathers cover most of their bodies except for the legs and tail.

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The fossil of Kulindadromeus is incomplete. Kulindadromeus is an ancient species, one of the oldest types of feathered dinosaurs ever discovered. Fossil fragments allow us to characterize and study this dinosaur.

8. Velociraptor

Velociraptor 3D illustration on white background
In the 1993 film Jurassic Park, the Velociraptors had no feathers because their feathers were only discovered in 2007.

© SciePro/Shutterstock.com

Velociraptors lived about 70 million years ago and were the deadly hunters of their time. The species is known for being extremely bird-like and covered with thick plumage.

Living velociraptors lived in Central and East Asia. These dinosaurs could not fly because their arms were too small and their bodies too large. Mating and conditioning templates are some possible uses of this dinosaur feather.

Like modern ostriches, this species ran on two legs at an estimated speed of about 25 mph. Velociraptors were carnivores with deadly curved claws and serrated teeth. One of the best living hunters, Velociraptor lived in the late Cretaceous period about 85 million years ago.

9. Utrianus

Yutryannus, which means "feathered tyrant," was the name of the largest feathered dinosaur ever discovered. They lived during the Early Cretaceous period, about 13 to 120 million years ago, in what is now Northeast China. Only three Yutryannus fossils have been found in the same area. They stand 25 to 30 feet tall (7.6 to 9.1 meters).

The feathers of Yutyrannosaurus were as fluffy as a little chick. They didn't use them to fly, but to keep warm in the cold regions where they lived. Like other types of tyrannosaurs such as dinosaurs, Yutyrannus was a carnivore, one of the most fearsome predators of their time. As fossil evidence suggests, this dinosaur hunted in packs like wolves.

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