Caudipteryx (which means "tail feather") is a genus of peacock-sized theropod dinosaurs that lived in the Aptian age of the early CretaceousPeriod (about 124.6 million years ago). They were feathered and remarkably birdlike in their overall appearance. Two species have been described; C. zoui (the type species), in 1998, and C. dongi, in 2000. The hands of Caudipteryx supported symmetrical, pennaceous feathers that had vanes and barbs, and that measured between 15–20 centimeters long (6–8 inches). These primary feathers were arranged in a wing-like fan along the second finger, just like primary feathers of birds and other maniraptorans. No fossil of Caudipteryx zoui preserves any secondary feathers attached to the forearms, as found in dromaeosaurids, Archaeopteryxand modern birds. Either these arm feathers are not preserved, or they were not present on Caudipteryx in life. An additional fan of feathers existed on its short tail. The shortness and symmetry of the feathers, and the shortness of the arms relative to the body size, indicate that Caudipteryx was flightless.


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