Fun Xiaotingia Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 29, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 19, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Xiaotingia facts shed light on this amazing dinosaur
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.6 Min

The Xiaotingia is an extinct genus of the Late Jurassic dinosaurs that lived in China. They are known from a single type species known as Xiaotingia zhengi. The Xiaotingia is very closely related to the popular species of Archaeopteryx. Archaeopteryx and Xiaotingia are believed to have the same origin. The latter dinosaurs possibly preceded the former ones. These dinosaurs were first named by four paleontologists of China named Xu Xing, Du Kai, You Hailu, and Han fenglu.

The Xiaotingia specimen was discovered in a more or less complete fossil from the  Liaoning province in Jianchang. Their fossil was collected from the Tiaojishan Formation in the Late Jurassic rock sediment. The discovery of the Xiaotingia led to the discovery of a different field of dinosaurs and completely transformed the evolutionary history of the present birds. Their successors, the Archaeopteryx got assigned to a suitable clade based on the discovery of their fossil. The hypothesis of the evolution of the Archaeopteryx into the modern-day birds was discarded by Xu Xing after their fossil was discovered. To know more facts about the Xiaotingia, keep on reading these amazing facts.

For similar content, check out the articles on yulong and serikornis facts too.

Xiaotingia Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Xiaotingia'?

The name Xiaotingia is pronounced as 'Zhow-tin-gee-ah'. The name Xiaotingia has a Chinese origin. The generic name when combined with the specific name felicitates the renowned fossil researcher and author named  Zheng Xiaoting.

What type of dinosaur was a Xiaotingia?

After extensive research, it was inferred that the Xiaotingia along with the Archaeopteryx were theropod dinosaurs of the Jurassic. When Xu Xing studied the fossils of the Xiaotingia zhengi, he observed that they had features similar to the Deinonychosaurs. They had distinctive hip bone and nasal openings that were only found in Deinonychosaurs.

In which geological period did the Xiaotingia roam the earth?

The Xiaotingia lived from the Bathonian to the Oxfordian age of the Jurassic period, they came into existence around 11 million years before the Archaeopteryx.

When did the Xiaotingia become extinct?

The Xiaotingia became extinct around 150.8 million years ago.

Where did a Xiaotingia live?

The fossils of the Xiaotingia were discovered from the western Liaoning province of China. Their skeleton was scattered in the  Tiaojishan Formation of China.

What was a Xiaotingia's habitat?

The Xiaotingia was partially arboreal and partly terrestrial. They lived in an arboreal environment for short a time. Like their relatives, the Xiaotigias also probably avoided tall forests.

Who did a Xiaotingia live with?

There is no information regarding the social structure of the Xiaotingia.

How long did a Xiaotingia live?

The Xiaotingia lived from 150-155 million years ago approximately. They lived for around five million years on earth.

How did they reproduce?

The reproduction process was oviparous, the dinosaur laid eggs and juveniles emerged from the eggs. Apart from that, there is no additional information regarding their reproduction.

Xiaotingia Fun Facts

What did a Xiaotingia look like?

The Xiaotingia was a primitive genus of small dinosaurs that lived during the Late Jurassic period in China. The physical structure of this dinosaur matched the morphology of the popular dinosaur species called Archaeopteryx. They were very small in size, their size can be compared to the size of present-day hens or pigeons. Their body consisted of feathers and this is one of the reasons why their successor was regarded as the first bird. The forelimbs were much longer than the hindlimb like that of the Archaeopteryx with a longer femur and shorter humerus. The longer length of the femur suggested that they were bipedal in nature and stood on their hind limbs. They used their forelimbs for flapping just like a bird. Most of the parts of the dinosaur's body were covered by feathers including head, nape, forelimbs, and hindlimbs. They had less than 10 teeth in their mouth and the dentary formula was similar to that of a basal bird.

Xiaotingia species are not actually birds.

How many bones did a Xiaotingia have?

The number of bones found in a Xiaotingia's body is not known, however, almost a complete skeleton of the dinosaur has been recovered including the Xiaotingia skull.

How did they communicate?

Like all dinosaurs, the Xiaotingia might have also communicated by vocalizations.

How big was a Xiaotingia?

The average length of the Xiaotingia was 23.6 in (60 cm). They were three times smaller in length than the Corythoraptor.

How fast could a Xiaotingia move?

The Xiaotingia could fly short distances but the speed with which they moved has not been determined.

How much did a Xiaotingia weigh?

The Xiaotingia was as small as the Archaeopteryx, it weighed around 1.8 lb (0.8 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

The male and female species did not have any specific names, both of them are known as Xiaotingia.

What would you call a baby Xiaotingia?

A baby Xiaotingia is referred to as a nestling or hatchling.

What did they eat?

The Deinonychosaurs were a group of small and carnivore animals of the Jurassic age. Accordingly, the Xiaotingia might also have consumed a carnivorous diet including insects.

How aggressive were they?

Even though the Xiaotingia was carnivorous in nature, they were very small in size. So they were less aggressive compared to the other large species of that era.

Did you know...

The limbs of the Xiaotingia had long feathers and if they could ever fly short distances, they probably used their hind wings to fly.

Are Xiaotingias related to birds?

The Xiaotingias was not related to early birds, but their closely related species the Archaeopteryx was believed to be the predecessor of the first bird. However, this early bird theory of the Archaeopteryx was not proved to be true after the discovery of the Xiaotingias. By comparing the features of the Xiaotingia fossil with the features of fossils of Archaeopteryx, Xu Xing inferred that the first bird had nothing in common with the Archaeopteryx. He rather developed a new evolutionary tree of early dinosaurs and birds that briefly described the origin of the Archaeopteryx and Xiaotingia. After the discovery of the new family tree, it was observed that the features of Xiaotingia were more closely related to the small dinosaurs of the Deinonychosauria clade. The Archaeopteryx is the predecessor of the Xiaotingia was also classified as non-avian birds. The origin of the avian first bird totally depended on a different branch of the tree, completely unrelated to the Deinonychosauria. Before the discovery of the skeleton of Xiaotingia, there have been few other discoveries of primitive dinosaurs that questioned the position of the Archaeopteryx as the first bird. Their similar Deinonychosauria features were first spotted actually before the discovery of their ancestors. However, Xu's elaborate report on the fossil of the newly discovered specimen made a huge difference, it restored the origin of Archaeopteryx along with the Xiaotingia as a dinosaur.

How did the Xiaotingia defend itself?

The Xiaotingia was a small dinosaur so they needed to protect themselves and juveniles. Like the Archaeopteryx, they also probably nested on trees rather than on the ground so that their eggs remain protected.

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

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

*The first image is by El fosilmaníaco.

*The second image is by Jaime A. Headden.

Xiaotingia Facts

What Did They Prey On?


what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?


How Much Did They Weigh?

1.8 lb (0.8 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

23.6 in (60 cm)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name

Xiaotingia zhengi

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Arboreal and terrestrial habitats

Where Did They Live?

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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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