Fun Zhenyuanlong Facts For Kids

Oluniyi Akande
Jan 16, 2023 By Oluniyi Akande
Originally Published on Oct 26, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Zhenyuanlongs were medium sized dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous era.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.8 Min

The name of this Zhenyuanlong dinosaur refers to 'Zhenyuan Sun's dragon' to honor the person who is responsible for securing the specimen for its discovery. Zhenyuanlong is closely related to a Velociraptor feathered and included in the dromeosaur group.

Despite having bird-like wings, it is believed to have been flightless since the strength of muscles varied, and were unable to help them fly like modern birds.

The ancestors of this species might have been able to fly, however evolution gradually led them to be flightless and their wings were solely for show purpose according to study published in the journal, 'Scientific Reports'.

Natural Science Foundation of China, the European Commission, and the US National Science Foundation are responsible for the mentioned holotype discoveries. The naming and description of the large winged bird-like fossil with a body covered with feathers is owed to Brusatte and Junchang.

For more relatable content, check out these Scelidosaurus facts and Changyuraptor facts for kids.

Zhenyuanlong Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Zhenyuanlong'?

The name of this Zhenyuanlong tyrannosaur is pronounced 'Zen-yu-an-long'.

What type of dinosaur was a Zhenyuanlong?

Zhenyuanlong is a genus of dromaeosaurid dinosaur hailing from the Yixian Formation of Liaoning Province, China. It is a large winged with no flight and feathered species, resembling a dragon and a bird at the same time.

In which geological period did the Zhenyuanlong roam the Earth?

The remains of the family of these Zhenyuanlong lived during the Aptian age of the early Cretaceous period, time being around 125 million years ago.

When did the Zhenyuanlong become extinct?

According to their fossil discovery, it has been approximated that the holotype dates from the Aptian age of the Early Cretaceous. The fossil of Zhenyuan's dragon, JPM-0008, was found in the Sihedang locality of Jianchang County of northeastern China's Yixian Formation of Liaoning Province.

Where did a Zhenyuanlong live?

According to the discovery of the Zhenyuanlong skeleton, this species hails from Liaoning Province, China.

What was a Zhenyuanlong's habitat?

The Zhenyuanlong are believed to have lived in a terrestrial habitat in the Central Asian woodlands. According to many studies done so far on dinosaur species, ancient rivers and streams are found to be the preferential areas for their habituation. They preferred forested floodplains and densely vegetated swamps, seasides, forest segments, and lakes.

Who did a Zhenyuanlong live with?

Zhenyuanlong dinosaurs lived through the Early Cretaceous period with other dinosaur species like Oviraptor, Segnosaurus, Khaan,amd Tarbosaurus who possibly lived in the same region as them.

How long did a Zhenyuanlong live?

Zhenyuanlong dinosaurs are believed to have lived from the Early Cretaceous period (125–113 million years ago), approximately 90 million years ago to 70.6 million years ago in the Liaoning Province.

How did they reproduce?

The evidence discovered suggests that Zhenyuanlong dinosaurs were oviparous, meaning they reproduced by laying eggs as opposed to viviparous. Viviparous dinosaurs gave birth to their young ones.

Zhenyuanlong Fun Facts

What did a Zhenyuanlong look like?

This dinosaur shares many physical similarities with the other Liaoning dromaeosaurids, and its overall dimensions are quite similar to Tianyuraptor dimensions, a dromaeosaurid hailing from the same formation. The skull is highly preserved and shaped similarly to that of Tianyuraptor and Sinornithosaurus.

It has six vertebrae in its sacrum, four of which are visibly fused, and a network of bony support rods typical of dromaeosaurs, as well as the middle caudal or the tail vertebrae. They are slightly longer than most other dromaeosaurs.

It has a tibiotarsus 30 times longer than the femur. This large difference only suggests that Liaoning dromaeosaurs had unique identities and characteristics when compared to others in the group.

Zhenyuanlong dinosaurs were very short-armed and, not surprisingly, with the shortest arm-to-leg length ratio of any known dromaeosaurid. However, the basal dromaeosaurid, i.e., Mahakala and the giant Unenlagiinae Austroraptor are exceptions to this case.

Its arms are unique and unusual if compared to other related dinosaurs. The radius of Zhenyuanlong's short-armed specimens is among the thinnest of any theropod dinosaur found so far. They are, in fact, comparable only to a handful of basal coelurosaurs, which possessed extremely reduced arms and hands.

Zhenyuanlog used to live in China.

How many bones did a Zhenyuanlong have?

A single specimen belonging to the species has been found from the Zhenyuanlong suni fossil. This specimen has been preserved as a nearly complete skeleton.

The fossils contain traces of feathers and large wings, along with a long tail consisting of feathers that would have given it a fluffy appearance. In addition to Liaoning dromaeosaurids, this specimen is the first-ever proof of well-constructed pennaceous feathers that are unique to a large, non-flying dromaeosaur having wings and making their function doubtful.

The fossil is very well preserved, lacking only half of the tail couple with a skull and lower jaws in good condition. The fossil has been compressed on a stone plate or slab.

How did they communicate?

It is unknown how exactly the Zhenyuanlong communicated with each other or the dinosaurs of different species. It is believed that dinosaurs depended on hissing, clapping their jaws together, grinding mandibles against upper jaws, rubbing scales, and by the use of environmental elements like splashing against water for establishing contacts.

It is also believed that dinosaurs communicated vocally and visually. They would have communicated during courtship and defending their territory.

How big was a Zhenyuanlong?

The exact measurements regarding Zhenyuanlong's height and length are unknown. However, the Zhenyuanlong's size is estimated to be about 4 ft (122 cm) long.

Based on comparison to the complete skeleton covered with complex feathers of the Tianyuraptor, wings, and short arms, it has been estimated that the skeleton of Zhenyuanlong would have been about 5.4 ft (165 cm) long when complete.

If the missing part of the tail is accounted for in the single specimen found, it will extend up to 6.6 ft (2 m). The Silutitan species discovered recently is estimated to be the biggest dinosaur in China at 65.6 ft (20 m).

How fast could a Zhenyuanlong move?

The external features, including the tail feathers and large wings, suggest they were actively mobile without flight. Although the possibility of flight similar to a bird has been proven unlikely, this Velociraptor may have been able to glide from one tree to another.

The animal with a fluffy body would therefore justify being covered with feathers and not possess flight.

How much did a Zhenyuanlong weigh?

The weight of this Cretaceous Zhenyuanlong is based on the classification of the specimen collected. This dinosaur is estimated to have weighed around 44.1 lb (20 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

Female and male Zhenyuanlong dinosaurs are not given any different names.

What would you call a baby Zhenyuanlong?

The Zhenyuanlong was oviparous, meaning the young ones were born when they hatched from their eggs. This means that the young ones of Zhenyuanlong dinosaurs can be called hatchlings or nestlings. This can be used for all dinosaurs as a generalized system.

What did they eat?

This feathered Velociraptor Dromaeosauridae is assumed to have been a carnivore owing to the scientific deductions made from its movement and skull anatomy.

How aggressive were they?

If considered in accordance with the anatomy and external features, it would be accurate to assume that they were aggressive in nature.

Did you know...

Cousin to the famous Velociraptor, the newly-named Zhenyuanlong is a fuzzy raptor with protofeathers and belongs to a similar group of dinosaurs. Zhenyuanlong was larger in size compared to other dromaeosaurs found around the same time and place.

It had extravagantly developed feathers on arms and legs. Their arms were shorter than the others from the same group. The tail feathers and large wings are also distinguishing features similar to birds in China.

Who discovered the Zhenyuanlong?

A local farmer found the specimen of this genus Zhenyuanlong species near Sihedang in Jianchang, Liaoning Province. The Jinzhou Paleontological Museum by Zhenyuan Sun led to the preservation of the extravagantly winged skeleton.

It was further prepared by Zhang Y. The name Zhenyuanlong suni was awarded by paleontologists Lü Junchang of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing, and Stephen Brusatte, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Brusatte and Junchang were also successful in providing a brief description of the species. The genus name combines Zhenyuan Sun's with the Chinese Pinyin long, meaning 'dragon'.

What dinosaur has the biggest wings?

The Quetzalcoatlus had the biggest wingspan. Quetzalcoatlus from the Late Cretaceous period of North America (Maastrichtian stage) was one of the largest known flying animals of all time.

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 Juravenator interesting facts and Wintonotitan surprising facts pages.

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

Second image by Emily Willoughby.

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Written by Oluniyi Akande

Doctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

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Oluniyi AkandeDoctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

With an accomplished background as a Veterinarian, SEO content writer, and public speaker, Oluniyi brings a wealth of skills and experience to his work. Holding a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan, he provides exceptional consulting services to pet owners, animal farms, and agricultural establishments. Oluniyi's impressive writing career spans over five years, during which he has produced over 5000 high-quality short- and long-form pieces of content. His versatility shines through as he tackles a diverse array of topics, including pets, real estate, sports, games, technology, landscaping, healthcare, cosmetics, personal loans, debt management, construction, and agriculture.

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