Animal Species:Sinosauropteryx prima

Sinosauropteryx prima was a small, meat-eating dinosaur that lived about 125 million years ago. It was covered with delicate, hair-like feathers.

Sinosauropteryx

James Reece © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Coelurosaur

Identification

Sinosauropteryx prima had:

  • long legs, short arms with three fingers, a bony tail and sharp teeth;
  • primitive feathers (up to 3 cm long, covering most of its body) that probably helped it to keep warm;
  • a long tail that it used for balance as it ran on its hind legs;
  • a diet of lizards, insects and small mammals.

Feeding Habit

carnivorous

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Fossils

Sinosauropteryx prima was discovered by farmers near Sihetun village in Liaoning Province and described in 1996. Its name means 'first Chinese dragon feather' in reference to the fact that this Chinese fossil was the first dinosaur found with feathers.

Evolutionary Relationships

Sinosauropteryx prima was a small theropod called a coelurosaur. It belonged to the family Compsognathidae, which occurred in Europe and China in the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous.

Classification

Family:
Compsognathidae

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Tags chinese dinosaurs, late Jurassic, early Cretaceous, carnivore, carnivorous,