Fun Sinosauropteryx Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Jan 24, 2022
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Sinosauropteryx facts are about the majestic ancient creatures that existed before mankind.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.4 Min

Fossilized remains excavated from the layers of Yixian Formation, Liaoning Province, situated in northeastern China, provided the first evidence of the existence of Sinosauropteryx prima belonging to the Compsognathidae family. It's known to be the relative of the Compsognathus genus with its origins dating back to the Early Cretaceous period. The genus was attributed its name by Ji Shuan and Ji Quiang in 1996. A major discovery was made by the farmer named Li Yumin when he came across the fossil specimen of a feathered dinosaur. Innumerable researchers from across the globe became highly engrossed in solving the mysteries that Sinosauropteryx brought to light. Its bird-like feathers astounded John Ostrom, the paleontologist who propounded the theory of the evolution of modern birds from these early ancestors. He came along with an international research team to engage in extensive research whereas another team comprising Alan Brush, an expert in feather studies, Peter Wellnhofer, and Larry Martin, a professional fossil expert joined their efforts to learn about this ancient earth-dweller. Apart from the feathers, the raccoon-like Sinosauropteryx mask also makes it unique.

Sinosauropteryx Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Sinosauropteryx'?

If you want to master the pronunciation of the dinosaur species then simply break it down to 'Sien-o-sawr-op-ter-iks'. The name of the theropod species has been derived from the Chinese language. The term 'Sinosauropteryx' translates to 'Chinese lizard wing' or 'Chinese reptilian wing'.

What type of dinosaur was a Sinosauropteryx?

The Sinosauropteryx prima is a species of non-avian compsognathid dinosaur believed to be a meat-eater.

In which geological period did the Sinosauropteryx roam the earth?

Dinosaurs were presumably one of the earliest earth-dwellers that inhabited the earth some million years ago. Among all prehistoric creatures, the Sinosauropteryx time period dates 122 - 125 million years back to the Early Cretaceous era.

When did the Sinosauropteryx become extinct?

The human world is still oblivious of the exact geological time when the population of this dinosaur species was completely eradicated.

Where did a Sinosauropteryx live?

The fossils of the theropod, Sinosauropteryx found in the Yixian Formation imply that it resided in modern-day northeastern China. Fossil specimens were retrieved from the areas of Lingyuan and Beipiao in the Liaoning Province.

What was a Sinosauropteryx's habitat?

About 122 - 125 million years ago, the Sinosauropteryx habitat encompassed the terrestrial regions of China and Europe.

How long did a Sinosauropteryx live?

The average life span of a Sinosauropteryx hasn't been deciphered yet

How did they reproduce?

Apart from the remnants of a lizard, the fossil specimen of NIGP 127587 also contained some small eggs stored in the abdomen. Hence, researchers believe that the specimen was that of a female. The positioning of the Sinosauropteryx embryo and its unlaid eggs reveal that the females possessed two oviducts and eggs were laid in pairs. The eggs measured 1 in (26 mm) in width and around 1.4 in (36 mm) long. The reproduction procedure was similar to that of any other theropod.

Sinosauropteryx Fun Facts

What did a Sinosauropteryx look like?

Sinosauropteryx facts are about feathered dinosaurs of China.

Ever since the discovery of Sinosauropteryx with feathers, every expert research team has been trying to uncover its function. Most believe that the feather helped in insulation and not in flight. However, the most distinct feature of this theropod dinosaur was its exceptionally long tail. These dinosaurs exhibited short arms that had only three fingers including large thumbs and two long legs. On the other hand, the thigh bones were almost as long as the skull. The pelvic bones drew a resemblance to that of lizards. These dinosaurs come with a set of sharp teeth and a unique bandit mask that offered them a modern raccoon-like appearance. Filaments perceived between the gaps of the skeleton imply the quantity of internal muscle and skin tissue present in those sections. Nick Longrich, a paleontologist highlighted that the well-preserved fossil reveals the Sinosauropteryx color pattern. Sinosauropteryx was the first dinosaur that bore evidence of stripes on its tail as well as a pattern of 'counter-shading', which was a combination of lighter coloration underneath and dark upperparts. It was presumably shaded in ginger and white stripes.

How many bones did a Sinosauropteryx have?

Three separate specimens of the Sinosauropteryx had been recovered from the site of the Yixian Formation along with some unlaid eggs, stomach contents, internal organs, and protofeathers or feather-like structures. Its long tail was composed of 64 vertebrae, making it relatively longer than the rest of its body length. In fact, among all theropods, it's the only one to possess such an unusually elongated tail. The number of bones that constitute the entirety of a Sinosauropteryx skeleton remains unknown since all the bones of the skeletal system couldn't be retrieved. Moreover, the three Sinosauropteryx fossil specimens namely GMV 2123, D 2141, and NIGP 127587 that were discovered from the site need further research.

How did they communicate?

Since dinosaurs had perished a long time back, accurate details about all the species are lacking. The specific communication procedure of Sinosauropteryx prima is unknown but it can be deduced that the species interacted with each other like all other dinosaurs. Apart from visual displays, vocalizations include bellowing, cracking, and hooting sounds.

How big was a Sinosauropteryx?

This theropod dinosaur was rather small-sized. According to the specimen, a Sinosauropteryx length went up to 4 ft (1.2 m) while it stood around 11.8 in (30 cm) tall. However, these dinosaurs were comparatively larger than Bambiraptors measuring 3 ft (0.9 m) in length and 1 ft (0.3 m) in height.

How fast could a Sinosauropteryx move?

The Sinosauropteryx prima was essentially non-avian although filaments resembling feathers of birds were discovered from its fossilized remains. These dinosaurs engaged in bipedal movements using their hind legs but the accurate speed range has not yet been unraveled owing to insufficient data. However, it can be inferred that since a Sinosauropteryx size was small, it possessed swift reflexes and agile movements.

How much did a Sinosauropteryx weigh?

A Sinosauropteryx weight was somewhere around 5.5 lb (2.5 kg). Since the body structure of these theropods was small, they were not too bulky.

What were the male and female names of the species?

Male and female dinosaurs do not possess sex-specific names.

What would you call a baby Sinosauropteryx?

It is widely believed that birds have evolved from dinosaurs. Just like a baby bird hatches from the egg, dinosaur babies developed inside eggs until hatching. Therefore, the baby can be called a hatchling.

What did they eat?

A Sinosauropteryx diet was primarily composed of small mammals owing to their carnivorous tendencies. The fossilized specimen NIGP 127587 displayed well-preserved remains of two small-sized mammals and a lizard in Sinosauropteryx stomach contents. Remnants of jawbones of two extinct mammal species namely Zhangheotherium and Sinobaatar were retrieved from the stomach.

How aggressive were they?

Although the Sinosauropteryx was a small theropod dinosaur, its natural predatory instincts and presence of sharp meat-eating teeth qualify it as aggressive while preying.

Did you know...

Did you know that the Compsognathus is considered to be the closest modern relative of the Sinauropteryx?

Here are some amazing facts about Sinosauropteryx vs Velociraptor!

Both the Velociraptor and Sinosauropteryx possessed bird-like feathers on their body but they could not fly like modern birds. Firstly, the Sinosauropteryx was the predecessor of Velociraptor that belonged to the Later Cretaceous period. The size of a Sinosauropteryx was akin to that of a turkey weighing 5.5 lb (2.5 kg), while Velociraptor had a moderate size with a weight of around 33 lb (15 kg). Popularly called a raptor, the Velociraptor had a long skull and claws shaped like a sickle, unlike the Sinosauropteryx.

Why was the discovery of a fossil Sinosauropteryx such a big deal?

In August 1996, the first fossilized specimen was discovered by Li Yumin, and eventually, post-research, it came to be known as Sinosauropteryx prima. The fossils were embedded in two separate slabs which Yumin sold off to two different Chinese museums. One was offered to Beijing's National Geological Museum while the other was preserved in the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology. These dinosaurs survived on earth approximately 122 - 125 million years ago and were one of the most primitive theropods to exhibit feathers.

How much water did a Sinosauropteryx have to drink?

There's no evidence about the quantity of fluid intake of the Sinosauropteryx.

Sinosauropteryx Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small mammals and lizards

what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?

Dark reddish-color body and striped tail with alternating light and dark bands

How Much Did They Weigh?

Around 5.5 lb (2.5 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

Approximately 4 ft (1.2 m)

How Tall Were They?

11.8 in (30 cm)









Scientific Name

Sinosauropteryx prima

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Terrestrial habitats

Where Did They Live?

Liaoning Province, Yixian Formation (China)
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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