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Dilong: 17 Facts You Won't Believe!

Contents

Dilong, a fascinating dinosaur that existed nearly 126 million years ago, has been one of the greatest finds in the paleontological world, as it has furthered the research into the members of the Tyrannosauroidea family. Dilong was a feathered dinosaur, with protofeathers covering its body. This has been deduced from the skin impressions of this animal. Additionally, skulls and vertebral columns have also been discovered. These remains that were found in China belonged to juvenile dinosaurs of this species.

Despite having feathers, Dilong was incapable of flight like birds. The main function of the feathers was keeping the animal warm, making them warm-blooded, unlike reptiles of modern times. The presence of these feathers has helped the research regarding the evolution of feathered dinosaurs. Dilong had quite a few long physical characteristics, including a long neck and arms. However, its legs were quite small. Being a carnivore, Dilong made use of its sharp jaws to feed on small mammals, birds, and lizards. The environment Dilong resided in had a large number of trees, including cycads and conifers. The region had a humid and wet climate, with periods of dryness corresponding to arid weather.

To learn more interesting facts about this dinosaur from China, keep reading! You can also check out Incisivosaurus and Xenotarsosaurus facts.

Dilong Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Dilong'? 

The name 'Dilong' is pronounced as 'DIE-long', while the specific name 'paradoxus' is pronounced as 'Pa-rah-DOX-us'. This name was given by Xu Xing. The discovery of this dinosaur was also made by Xu Xing and his team.

What type of dinosaur was a Dilong?

Dilong was a tyrannosauroid, of the family Tyrannosauroidea. While Dilong had features similar to other tyrannosaurids, it also had unique features of its own. Dilong was an early relative of the more advanced and modern Tyrannosaurus rex, one of the fiercest tyrannosaurs of all time.

In which geological period did the Dilong roam the Earth?

Dilong was present on Earth nearly 126 million years ago, during the Early Cretaceous period. During this time, it was the Barremian stage of the Early Cretaceous period.

When did the Dilong become extinct?

Due to the lack of fossil evidence proving otherwise, it is safe to assume that these tyrannosaurs became extinct during the Early Cretaceous period itself.

Where did a Dilong live? 

The discovery of the remains of Dilong from the Liaoning Province of China proved that these dinosaurs were native to that region. The remains of this species were collected from the Yixian Formation.

What was a Dilong's habitat? 

The habitat and ecology of the Yixian Formation, where these dinosaurs resided, have been well-studied. This region had vegetation in the form of cycads, conifers, and horsetails. The climate was usually humid and wet. However, there were occurrences of arid conditions, as well. The Dilong dinosaurs probably lived in the forests by lake regions.

Who did a Dilong live with?

It is possible that these dinosaurs were solitary in nature. This is supported by the fact that most species of the Tyrannosauroidea family lived and hunted alone.

How long did a Dilong live?

These tyrannosaurs probably had a life span of five years. However, there is no concrete proof to support this estimation. The life expectancy of T. rex has been established to have been about 28 years.

How did they reproduce?

The exact reproductive science of this animal is yet to be established. However, we do know that Dilong was oviparous, and hence, they laid eggs. The embryonic development took place within these eggs. It is possible that the dinosaur laid such eggs in a nest of its own.

Dilong Fun Facts

What did a Dilong look like?

Despite being a tyrannosauroid of the Theropoda clade, there were a number of features that set apart this basal and primitive member from Tyrannosaurus, one of the most well-known tyrannosaurids.

One of the first unique features of this dinosaur was its small size. Additionally, its body was covered in a simple form of feathers, known as protofeathers. This discovery has significant value, as it makes the evolutionary science related to tyrannosauroids much more comprehensive, since it proves, at some point in history, dinosaurs of this group had feathers. The Dilong feathers were filamentous in nature.

Another unusual feature related to the Dilong dinosaur was the presence of a y-shaped crest on its skull. The two ridges of the crest ran along the two sides of its snout. Overall, its skull, neck, and arms were long. They had three fingers in each arm. However, similar to modern tyrannosauroids, even Dilong had viciously powerful jaws. Each jaw was provided with a front tooth resembling a 'D' shape.

Dilong existed 126 million years ago.

How many bones did a Dilong have?

It has not been really possible to estimate the exact number of bones possessed by this feathered tyrannosauroid due to a lack of a complete skeleton. However, the remains of Dilong discovered to date are quite complete, consisting of almost an entire skull and vertebrae belonging to the presacral region. Such well-articulated evidence, including skin impressions, has definitely enriched the field of paleontology and helped with further research into tyrannosauroids.

How did they communicate?

Further research is required to gather proper evidence regarding how members of the genus Dilong communicated. However, these dinosaurs did have sensory systems and brains, which were closely similar to coelurosaurs. Hence, Dilong dinosaurs definitely made use of their system in order to communicate with each other.

How big was a Dilong? 

The fossil of Dilong, which went on to become the type specimen, had a length of 5.2 ft (1.6 m). However, it was estimated that the skeleton belonged to a juvenile. Hence, the adult Dilong probably grew up to a length of 6.5 ft (2 m) and had a height of 3 ft (0.9 m). In comparison to the massive Tyrannosaurus, with a length of 40 ft (12.2 m), Dilong, the basal member of the same group of tyrannosauroids, was nearly seven times smaller.

How fast could a Dilong move?

Despite being feathered, Dilong dinosaurs were not adapted for flight. It has been assumed that their protofeathers helped them in keeping warm. So, these dinosaurs relied on their two small legs to move from one place to another. Based on the fact that members of this species had smaller legs in comparison to other tyrannosaurids, it has been estimated that they weren't as speedy. Nevertheless, they were somewhat agile in nature.

How much did a Dilong weigh?

The estimated weight of this fascinating feathered dinosaur was about 22 lb (10 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no such separate or distinct names assigned to the male and female dinosaurs of this genus.

What would you call a baby Dilong?

A baby Dilong would be known as a hatchling.

What did they eat? 

This member of the Dinosauria clade was a carnivore, a character typical to its group. Its powerful jaws helped it in tearing apart smaller animals like birds, mammals, lizards, and other dinosaurs. Additionally, this carnivore had long arms, which means it could pick up and clutch onto its prey, as well.

How aggressive were they?

Since Dilong paradoxus was carnivorous in nature, it can be assumed that the dinosaur was aggressive, as well. Its powerful jaws and arms are further proof of its predatory temperament.

Did you know...

The name 'Dilong', given by Xu Xing, means Emperor Dragon. This name was given due to the relationship between Dilong paradoxus and the famous T. rex, referred to as the 'king' among tyrannosaurids.

How was Dilong paradoxus preserved, and in what rock formation was it found?

The fossils of Dilong prove that these remains were one of the most well-preserved in the world of paleontology. The Dilong fossils were recovered from the Yixian Formation, found in Liaoning Province of China. The fossils that have been discovered belonged to two different individuals. While one fossil consisted of an almost complete skeleton, with skull and parts of the vertebral column, the other was not as articulated but still consisted of parts of the skull and vertebrae. In addition to these, skin impressions showing the presence of feathers in these primitive animals were also discovered.

Is Dilong a Tyrannosaur?

Since Dilong belongs to the clade of Tyrannosauroidea, it can be referred to as Dilong tyrannosaur. The discovery of this animal shed light on the evidence that tyrannosauroids had feathered bodies. Based on this early dinosaur, it has also been postulated that more advanced tyrannosaurids had both scales and protofeathers and eventually lost the scales as they grew older. Additionally, the feathers also kept the animals warm, proving that Dilong was warm-blooded, unlike the reptiles of present-day.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more great content, check out these Puertasaurus facts and Ludodactylus facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Dinosaur On a Motorcycle coloring pages.

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