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Yutyrannus huali

Yutyrannus was pretty big for its geological age weighing in at around 1400kg, based on an estimate using femoral length (a standard proxy for dinosaurian body size estimates). As such, it represents the largest known dinosaur species to possess feather-like structures (‘protofeathers’, or elongate filaments), and is around 40 times larger than the previous contender, Beipiaosaurus. Three specimens are currently know of Yutyrannus, representing an adult with two juveniles, based on overall size and morphometrics, purportedly occurring together. If genuinely found together, this could be either construed as evidence for social behaviour, such as hunting, extensive parental care, or just be a chance occurrence with specimens washed together post-mortem. 


Yutyrannus huali


Xu et al., 2012

Meaning of the generic name

Derived from ‘yu’ (Mandarin for ‘feathers’) ‘tyrannus’ (Latin for ‘king’ or ‘tyrant’)


Meaning of the specific name


‘huali’ means ‘beautiful’ in Mandarin, referring to the beauty of the plumage of this animal


Body Length: 9 m (30 ft). Skull length: estimated 905 mm


Holotype: ZCDM (Zhucheng Dinosaur Museum, Shandong) V5000, a semi-articulated, nearly complete skeleton. 

Paratypes: ZCDM V5001, a nearly complete, articulated skeleton; and ELDM (Erlianhaote Dinosaur Museum, Inner Mongolia) V1001, an articulated skeleton missing the tail.

Age and Distribution

Horizon: Lower Cretaceous, Yixian Formation (?Aptian)

Locality: Batuyingzi, Beipiao, Liaoning Province, China;


Dinosauria Saurischia Theropoda Tyrannosauroidea


Further Reading


Xu, X., Wang, K., Zhang, K., Ma, Q., Xing, L., Sullivan, C., Hu, D., Cheng, S., and Wang, S. (2012). "A gigantic feathered dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of China." Nature, 484: 92-95.




Skull and mandible of ELDM V1001 from Xu et al., 2012