Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Caudipteryx was a genus of small, peacock-sized Early Cretaceous theropods (members of Theropoda, the group of typically carnivorous dinosaurs that lived about 125 million years ago). Its most remarkable feature was its feathers.
Two species have been named, C. zoui and C. dongi. Caudipteryx fossils were first discovered in the Liaoning Province of northeastern China in 1997. The animals had a short skull that retained only a few teeth in the front of the upper jaw. They had symmetrical, pennaceous feathers on its short tail and hands. The shortness of these feathers and their symmetry indicate 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 related to the Oviraptoridae. Those few paleontologists who still deny birds are of a dinosaurian nature, such as Feduccia and Martin, claim the remains are not dinosaurian at all, but those of a bird. They have failed to present data substantiating this claim.
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