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'Siberia is so big, it’s almost more an idea than a place'

A unique Siberian dinosaur exactly as it looked 150 million years ago

By 0 and 0 and 0
19 May 2016


The model shown in pictures is currently being exhibited at the  National Museum of Nature and Sciences in Tokyo. Picture: Th. Hubin/RBINS

Its remains were found at a dinosaur graveyard in Kulinda, on the banks of the the Olov River in TransBaikal region, and now  researcher Dr Pascal Godefroit, of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, has recreated the creature which was about one metre in length, and also shows its skeleton. 

Officially called Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, its fossils were preserved in volcanic ash including traces of its skin, scaled tails, and evidence of feathers.

There is no suggestion the bizarre dinosaur - which had a height of around 0.6 metre - could fly: its feathers - fluffy and downy like chicks - were to keep it warm, scientists believe. 

Kulindadromeus skeleton

Kulindadromeus skeleton

Kulindadromeus skeleton

Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus: full-size skeletal reconstruction by Jonica dos Remedios. Pictures: Th. Hubin/RBINS

Dr Maria McNamara, of Cork University, in Ireland, is now working on identifying the microstructure of the animal's 'proto-feathers', and these secrets will be revealed in a forthcoming scientific publication.

The dinosaur remains were first discovered  between 2010 and 2013 by Dr Sofia Sinitsa from Institute of Natural Resources, Ecology and Cryology, Chita. The discovery has led to scientific speculation that all  dinosaurs could have been feathered, argued a paper in Science magazine. 

'It is a big discovery. It has completely changed our vision of dinosaurs', said Dr  Godefroit earlier. 

The animal had a short snout, long hind legs, short arms, and five strong fingers. It had 'reptile-like scales on its tail and shins, and short bristles on its head and back'.

Kulindadromeus body

Kulindadromeus body

Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus: full-size reconstruction by Mostafa Mohamed. Pictures: Th. Hubin/RBINS

'The most astonishing discovery, however, is that it also has complex, compound feathers associated with its arms and legs,' reported

Over several summer digs, the Russian-Belgian team excavated many dinosaur fossils, as well as plant and insect fossils.

Feather expert, Danielle Dhouailly from the Universite Joseph Fourier in La Tronche, France, told the Belgian site: 'The feathers look like down feathers from some modern chickens. 

'When we compare them with the leg scales, it looks as if the scales are aborted feathers, an idea that has been suggested to explain why modern birds also have scaly bare legs.' Six skulls and several hundred bones of this new dinosaur at the Kulinda locality.

Sofia Sinitsa and Pascal Godefroit

Kulinda excavations site

Findings in Kulinda

Dinos traces in Kulinda

Over several summer digs, the Russian-Belgian team excavated many dinosaur fossils, as well as plant and insect fossils. Pictures: T. Hubin/RBINS, V. Shevchenko

The model shown in pictures is currently being exhibited at the  National Museum of Nature and Sciences in Tokyo.

Dr Godefroit said: 'I was really amazed when I saw this. We knew that some of the plant-eating ornithischian dinosaurs had simple bristles, and we couldn't be sure whether these were the same kinds of structures as bird and theropod feathers. Our new find clinches it: all dinosaurs had feathers, or at least the potential to sprout feathers.'

He added: 'The fact that feathers have now been discovered in two distinct groups, theropods in China and ornithischians in Russia, means that the common ancestor of these species which might have existed 220 million years ago also probably had feathers.'

Comments (11)

All they have done is make a model of an artist drawing, where is the picture of the actual bones they claim they have found, and the Evidence of “feathers “ seems to me there is a sucker born every minute based on this “ evidence” !!!!
GaryJaensch, Australia
09/07/2021 08:02
Anyone know the mass of this dinosaur. I need it for a presentation thanks.
Aziz, Usa
05/03/2018 05:30
I don't like how they said all dinos had feathers. I can't imagine ankylosaurs,hadrosaurs,or sauropods having feathers. The only dinos I know that have feathers are all theropods except spinos, ceratopsians (in the form of tail quills), and small orthistian dinos like Kulidadromeus. (Pardon my bad spelling)
Aiden Bruder, Michigan, USA
24/06/2016 10:42
now this ones worth using dna and bringing back, bet they tasted yummy :-)
and wouldnt they do a great job as chicken tractors on farms:-)
Laurel, Australia
03/06/2016 17:56
Note to Pamela - Bishop James Ussher's chronology dates to the 1600s. Daylight time recently added for clarity. You are correct - no argument is possible with those Green Irish of the distant past.
george murphy, constantine usa
26/05/2016 20:49
Hi Murphy (aka Irish Guy)...:-). With convoluted logic so carefully articulated in your paragraph, I would have no idea how to even begin to argue....:-).
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
26/05/2016 20:14
Bishop Ussher determined the world was created on Sunday 23 October 4004 BC. And Adam and Eve were driven out on Monday 10 November 4004 BC. The Ark landed May 5, 2348 BC, on a Wednesday Each event at 11 AM daylight time. Who could argue with an Irish guy.
george murphy, constantine usa
25/05/2016 21:33
I may not be a smart man but my bible is always right. Some people tell me I should think for myself but I don't need to. It's written in this handy book. If it said to jump off a cliff, I would. Cause it's right.

p.s. my mothers my sister.
dave, Florida, USA
24/05/2016 08:32
I have no doubt the earth is much older than 6000 years and I have a feeling that Dave does as well...:-). This discovery of the first plant eating dinosaur with feathers and scales is possibly a "missing link" in the evolution of plant eating birds and reptiles (Gadzooks! as Joseph says). Very cool indeed and very adorable. I would much rather have met up with one of these little "critters" than a pterodactyl..... :-).
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
22/05/2016 01:54
150 million years ago?
That's impossible since the bible tells us that the earth is only 6,000 years old...
dave, Florida, USA
21/05/2016 19:45
Gadzooks! I knew that after raising hundreds of chickens that their eye was reptilian, and those scaly legs, well....!
Joseph E Fasciani, Esquimalt, BC
21/05/2016 17:25

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