Fun Heyuannia Facts For Kids

Akinwalere Olaleye
Jan 13, 2023 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Oct 01, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Know all about Heyuannia size and habitat.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.1 Min

Heyuannia, a generic name derived from Heyuan, is a genus of Theropoda Oviraptorosauria and is known to have lived during the Late Cretaceous period in southern China. This was the first oviraptorid found in this region since most of the other oviraptorid species were found in the neighboring country Mongolia.

Two species have been known for this dinosaur species, Heyuannia huangi, and Heyuannia yanshini.

Heyuannia huangi was named and discovered by Lü Junchangin in 2002. On the other hand, Heyuannia yanshini was named in a separate genus, genus Ingenia by Rinchen Barsbold in 1982.

However, Heyuannia yanshini was then renamed in genus Ajancingenia in 2013, and this was done because the genus Ingenia was preoccupied. However, even the placement of Heyuannia huangi is considered to be interesting.

The species was assigned to Oviraptoridae in 2002 by Lü Junchang, but this placement in the group is also considered to be uncertain.

According to some analysis, the placement for the species is believed to be in either Oviraptorinae or Ingeniinae. However, according to Lü Junchang, Heyuannia's shoulder morphology suggests that this Cretaceous species of southern China were secondarily flightless birds, like other oviraptosaurians.

For more relatable content, check out these Incisivosaurus facts and Volgatitan facts for kids.

Heyuannia Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Heyuannia'?

The name of this Theropoda dinosaur is pronounced as 'hey-u-an-ne-ah'.

What type of dinosaur was a Heyuannia?

The Heyuannia huangi was a medium-sized Theropoda Oviraptorosauria dinosaur of the genus oviraptorid. Oviraptosaurus are a group of maniraptoran dinosaurs that had feathers. Oviraptorid was known to have short, beaked, and parrot-like skulls that may or may not have bony crests atop their heads.

In which geological period did the Heyuannia roam the Earth?

From the remains of the family of this Theropoda Oviraptorosauria, they are estimated to be have been living in the world during the Maastrichtian of the Late Cretaceous period, approximately 66 million years ago.

When did Heyuannia become extinct?

According to their fossil description, it has been approximated that the Heyuannia dinosaur must have gone extinct around 66 million years ago, around the Late Cretaceous period.

Where did Heyuannia live?

According to the Heyuannia fossils, it has been concluded that the species must have lived in the Dalangshan Formation, which is the present-day Guangdong Province of China. The Heyuannia dinosaur was also the first oviraptorid found in that country. Most of the other oviraptorid found were from the neighboring country Mongolia.

What was the Heyuannia's habitat?

Heyuannia's habitat is believed to have been terrestrial. The Cretaceous period is known for a relatively warm climate that resulted in high eustatic sea levels, creating numerous shallow inland seas. These water bodies were populated with marine reptiles, ammonites, and rudists, which are all extinct now.

Who did Heyuannia live with?

Heyuannia lived through the Late Cretaceous period with other dinosaur species like Oviraptor, Segnosaurus, Khaan, and Tarbosaurus.

How long did Heyuannia live?

The Heyuannia dinosaurs are believed to have lived during the Late Cretaceous period, approximately from 72.1-66 million years ago. Their exact lifespan, however, is unknown.

How did they reproduce?

Like all other dinosaurs, the reproduction of Heyannia is believed to be oviparous. This means that they are believed to reproduce by laying eggs.

The preservation of Heyuannia eggs has helped preserve pigments biliverdin and protoporphyrin in the eggshells, which further indicates that the eggs would have been blue-green in color. It is believed that this coloration must have been helpful for both camouflage and sexual signaling, which is also found in the American robins and ratites.

The eggshells also suggest an open nest arrangement for Heyuannia. This open nest arrangement also suggests that the Heyuannia must have been very engaging with their parental care.

Heyuannia Fun Facts

What did Heyuannia look like?

It is believed that the Heyuannia huangi dinosaurs used to care for their nests.

The Heyuannia huangi was known to have a short, beaked, and parrot-like skull that may or may not have had bony crests atop their heads. Their toothless skull is also believed to have been relatively short with a steep snout.

It is also believed that it had very short arms and digits, and their fist digit was reduced.

The fossil holotype (a single type specimen on which the description and name of a new species are based) HYMV1-1 for the Heyuannia huangi was discovered in Guangdong near Huangsha, which is in the layers of the Dalangshan Formation. The holotype description consisted of a partial skeleton and also included the skull.

Further, six more skeletons were assigned as either paratypes or were referred to the species.

There were also multiple other skeleton fossils that have been since found, one of which is believed to have possible reproductive organs. Many thousands of eggs have also been recovered from the site; some of them are believed to be likely laid by this Theropoda Oviraptorosauria.

How many bones did a Heyuannia have?

The fossil representation for the Heyuannia huangi consists of fossil-like a partial skull, mandible, and most of the postcranial skeleton.

How did they communicate?

It is unknown how exactly the Heyuannia huangi communicated with each other or the dinosaurs of other species.

But in the review of pre-historic animal sounds, Philip J. Senter, an American paleontologist and a professor of Zoology at Fayetteville State University, very popularly known for his researches focusing on dinosaur paleobiology, believed that the dinosaurs used to communicate by hissing, clapping their jaws together, grinding mandibles against upper jaws, rubbing scales together and by the use of environmental materials like splashing against water.

These modes of communication would have been most used during defensive posturing, courtship behavior, territory fights, etc.

How big was Heyuannia?

The exact measurements regarding Heyuannia's height and length are unknown; however, it is estimated to have been about 4.9 ft (1.5 m) long.

How fast could a Heyuannia move?

It is unknown how fast a Heyuannia could walk or run; however, they would need good mobility to avoid becoming prey for the bigger carnivorous dinosaurs.

How much did a Heyuannia weigh?

The Heyuannia's weight, based on the fossils collected, is estimated to be around 44.1 lb (20 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

The female and male dinosaurs are not given any different names.

What would you call a baby Heyuannia?

Since the Heyuannia huangi reproduces by laying eggs and the new ones are born when the eggs hatch, the baby Heyuannia huangi can be called a hatchling or a nestling.

What did they eat?

They were carnivorous and probably had a diet consisting of small animals like frogs, insects, mammals, lizards, and early birds.

How aggressive were they?

There are no pieces of evidence in history yet that the Heyuannia was aggressive in nature; however, given their meat-eating lifestyle, it must be safe to say that they might have little aggressive characteristics to them too.

Did you know...

Heyuannia huangi was also featured in the Jurassic Park Institue, an expansive Jurassic Park-based website that can be browsed on Dinopedia. The Jurassic Park Institue was launched by Universal Studios and was opened on June 12, 2001, and was closed down in 2006. The website was known for its database on dinosaurs and games and activities around them.

Why are they called Heyuannia?

The type species for these dinosaurs, Heyuannia huangi, was named and described in 2002 by Lü Junchang. Their generic name refers to the city of Heyuan, whereas their specific name was given in honor of Huang Dong, who was the director of the Heyuan Museum.

Who discovered Heyuannia?

Lü Junchang discovered the holotype HYMV1-1 in Guangdong near Huangsha, which is in the layers of the Dalangshan Formation.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other dinosaurs from our Austroraptor interesting facts and Hesperosaurus surprising facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Heyuannia coloring pages.


Main image by Danny Cicchetti.

Second image by Scott Hartman.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

Read full bio >