Fun Tianyulong Facts For Kids

Ayan Banerjee
Oct 20, 2022 By Ayan Banerjee
Originally Published on Sep 29, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Tianyulong facts include details like these are fox-sized heterodontosaurid.

The Tianyulong (Tianyulong confuciusi) was a heterodontosaurid of the ornithischian group of bird. The single specimen of this reptile was found in Jianchang County in Liaoning province, in the locality of Linglengta or Linglongta of China which is housed in the Tianyu Museum of Nature, China. It was named by Zheng, Dong, and other paleontologists.

These living fossils in nature were found in the Early Jurassic to the Early Cretaceous period. They existed 167.7 million years ago to 150.8 million years ago. They preferred terrestrial habitats.

This holotype reptile had filamentous integumentary structures on its body similar to Psittacosaurus. The paleontologists, Zheng, Hai, Dong, Xiao Ting, and others did the investigation on this feathered dinosaur.

This reptile was either a herbivore or omnivore in nature as is it had sharp canine teeth like heterodontosaurids which are called lizard's teeth. They fed on plants and leaves or small animals.

This fox-sized reptile was 13 lb (6 kg) in weight. They were not very tall creatures. These reptiles with feathers were 3.10 ft (1.18 m) tall.

These reptiles in nature were 47.2 in (1.2 m) long including their sharp tail. These dinosaurs with feathers had holotype heads and two forelegs with five fingers and two hind legs with toes.

Want to learn more about other dinosaurs? Read our articles with interesting facts about the Kinnareemimus and Indosaurus.

Tianyulong Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Tianyulong'?

The Tianyulong was an Early Cretaceous heterodontosaurid dinosaur and it is pronounced like 'ti- ang- u-long'. This evolved ornithischian like Psittacosaurus was named by Zheng. Dong, Hai, Currie, and Xiao Ting. The paleontologists further conducted an article on the discovery of the evolution of this dinosaur with filamentous integumentary or the fossil of feathers covering the whole body.

What type of dinosaur was a Tianyulong?

The Tianyulong, from the heterodontosaurids group, was herbivorous and one of the earliest dinosaurs. It had feather-like structures on its skin.

The filaments were 2.4 in (6 cm) tall and were believed to have protofeathers. In March 2009, a heterodontosaurid dinosaur with outers skin structure, similar to a Sinosauropteryx, was found in China. The feathers covering its body are similar to an ostrich.

In which geological period did the Tianyulong roam the Earth?

This Ornithischia species roamed the Earth from the Early Jurassic period to the Early Cretaceous period. The time period is around 167.7 million years ago to 150.8 million years ago.

When did the Tianyulong become extinct?

These feathers covered theropods, also called Confuciusi, became extinct around the Early Cretaceous, which was around 145 million years ago. This species is now housed in the Shandong Tianyu Museum in Liaoning province.

Where did a Tianyulong live?

The specimens of Tianyulong dinosaurs were found in the local areas of Linglengta or Linglongta and it was an Ornithischia dinosaur. These feathered ornithischians lived in every country of Asia. The only fossil found of this bird group was in China. It is still not confirmed whether they were endemic to a specific location.

What was a Tianyulong's habitat?

These proto-feather dinosaurs, also called Confuciusi, named by Zheng, Dong, and other paleontologists inhabited terrestrial regions, like an emu. Only one specimen of this 'living fossil' was found which is now housed in the Shandong Tianyu Museum. The location of the discovery of this bird species is known and it is believed to have lived throughout Asia.

Who did a Tianyulong live with?

The Tianyulong is the earliest Jurassic origin feathered dinosaur. They were a solitary type of fuzzy-bird animals.

How long did a Tianyulong live?

With the earliest Jurassic origin, this Ornithischian named Tianyulong confuciusi lived on the planet between 120-130 million years ago. They are one of the Early Cretaceous heterodontosaurid dinosaurs. The fossil of this species is now kept in the Shandong Tianyu Museum.

How did they reproduce?

Like any other dinosaurs in the Ornithischian group, these heterodontosaurids also laid eggs. We do not know about the exact mating system of Ornithischians. Like any other bird group of dinosaurs, male and female Tianyulong dinosaurs would have mated in a particular season.

Tianyulong Fun Facts

What did a Tianyulong look like?

The Tianyulong is a species in the Ornithischian group. These animals had small fox-like structures.

These animals had filamentous integumentary structures like feathers on their body which were very similar to birds. It was later discovered that these feathers were not actually of primitive birds, but the the evolution of these holotype filaments were more like protofeathers known to science. These dinosaurs also had long sharp tail and two canine-like tusks like Sinosauropteryx.

These dinosaurs were either herbivorous or omnivorous like other heterodontosaurids. These fuzzy birds also had five-fingered forelimbs and long hind legs with toes.

We've been unable to source an image of Tianyulong and have used an image of Heterodontosaurus instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Tianyulong, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How many bones did a Tianyulong have?

Paleontologists, like Xiao Ting and Hai, gave the history about these evolved theropods even though only one specimen has been found of these dinosaurs. In 2009, in a locality in China, more specimens were found of this heterodontosaurid dinosaur with filamentous structures.

How did they communicate?

There is no particular proof of any communication processes in Ornithischians. Like other dinosaurs, this confuciusi dinosaur might have communicated with each other for various reasons using different ways. It was the natural history of any other animals of the Early Cretaceous.

How big was a Tianyulong?

Tianyulong confuciusi was 13 lb (6 kg) in weight which is similar to the Psittacosaurus. They were 3.10 ft (1.18 m) tall and 47.2 in (1.2 m) long including their tail.

How fast could a Tianyulong move?

This heterodontosaurid dinosaur with filamentous had two five fingered forelegs and two strong hind legs. With the help of its long sharp tail, it could move really fast.

How much did a Tianyulong weigh?

The fox-sized creature called Tianyulong found in the Tianyu Museum of Nature was 13 lb (6 kg) in weight like the dodo.

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for a male and female Tianyulong dinosaur.

What would you call a baby Tianyulong?

There is no specific name for a Tianyulong baby. A fossil is housed in the Tianyu Museum of Nature and the scientific name is Tianyulong confuciusi.

What did they eat?

These holotype nature dinosaurs are either herbivorous or omnivorous. They are heterodontosaurids which means 'lizard's tooth'. These were specifically omnivorous dinosaurs with canine teeth that lived in the Jurassic time.

How aggressive were they?

This Psittacosaurus-looking reptile was not a very aggressive creature. There is no available description that tells us about the fighting habits of this reptile but the filamentous integumentary structures on the body could have been used for communicating, water replenishing, or fighting.

Did you know...

In the near 1860s, the first feathered dinosaur was discovered and named Archaeopteryx. It was considered from the late Jurassic and was said to be a family member of present birds.

What is significant about the fossil of Tianyulong?

These Jurassic dinosaurs were discovered from Liaoning province. The feather-like structure on the body of these dinosaurs was a really interesting discovery. On the fossil of this dinosaur, Zheng found three marks of filaments on the backside of the tail and inner side of the neck.

What might an early theropod have used feathers for?

The feather-like structure on Early Jurassic theropod dinosaurs was for thermal insulation, communication, or water repellency. Feathers were not just for flying. The presence of such feathers was discovered in many theropods in the past. There are different types of feathers for different types of animals in nature.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Concavenator fun facts or Pegomastax fun facts for kids pages.

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

Main image by Nobu Tamara

Second image by Michael B. H.

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Written by Ayan Banerjee

Bachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Ayan Banerjee picture

Ayan BanerjeeBachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Thanks to his degree in nautical science from T.S. Chanakya, IMU Navi Mumbai Campus, Ayan excels at producing high-quality content across a range of genres, with a strong foundation in technical writing. Ayan's contributions as an esteemed member of the editorial board of The Indian Cadet magazine and a valued member of the Chanakya Literary Committee showcase his writing skills. In his free time, Ayan stays active through sports such as badminton, table tennis, trekking, and running marathons. His passion for travel and music also inspire his writing, providing valuable insights.

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Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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