STL Science Center

STL Science Center

05 August 2011

Beware the peacock!

A peacock sized maniraptoran theropod is taking over this week. Mixing up, like many maniraptorans, the traits of dinosaurs and birds, the Caudipteryx is a unique and strangely interesting animal. Possessing the mouth, tail, hands, and feet of primitive birds Caudipteryx is very nearly a missing link that would prove definitively that birds and dinosaurs are 100% related; since it is not stand alone proof there are still some in the science that do not believe dinosaurs and birds are that closely related. For the most part Caudipteryx looks like a peahen, perhaps only because no proof has been found that they possessed peacock like feathers. Imagine that, a dinosaur with peacock feathers. That would be something special to see.

©Jim Robins
Caudipteryx is thought to have been an omnivore as it possessed small teeth and gastroliths, stones swallowed to aid in digestion in a gizzard, have been found within the abdomen area of skeletons of Caudipteryx. As a fact on that point, Caudipteryx consists of two species, Caudipteryx zoui and Caudipteryx dongi, and, as the names of the species mildly suggest, both species were found in China with the first, C. zoui, being found in 1997.

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