Caudipteryx (tail feather)
Q. Ji, P. J. Currie, M. A. Norrel & S. Ji - 1998
Estimated 1.5 meters long
C. zoui (type), C. dongi
China, Liaoning Province - Yixian Formation
Early Cretaceous, 120 million years ago
Caudipteryx is a genus of feathered theropod dinosaur that lived during the early Cretaceous period, approximately 120 million years ago. It was a small dinosaur, with a length of about 1.5 meters, and it is considered one of the earliest known species of bird-like dinosaurs.
The most distinctive feature of Caudipteryx is its long, well-developed feathers, which covered its body and tail. This makes it one of the earliest known examples of dinosaur species that were covered in feathers. In addition, Caudipteryx also had a large, bony crest on its head, which was probably used for display purposes.
Despite its bird-like features, Caudipteryx was still a theropod dinosaur, and it would have been a predator. However, its small size and the presence of feathers suggest that it may have been more suited for an arboreal lifestyle, hunting for insects and small mammals in trees.
The discovery of Caudipteryx has been extremely important for our understanding of dinosaur evolution and the origins of birds. It provides clear evidence that feathers evolved for purposes other than flight, and it is a key piece of evidence for the idea that birds are descended from theropod dinosaurs.
Overall, Caudipteryx is an interesting and important dinosaur species, and its discovery has helped to fill in the evolutionary gaps between dinosaurs and birds. It is an excellent example of the incredible diversity of the dinosaur world, and it is sure to continue to captivate and inspire paleontologists and dinosaur enthusiasts for years to come.