Total anky death
Extinct as can be!

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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous
Dilong reconstruction
An artist's illustration of Dilong paradoxus
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryote
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Proceratosauridae
Genus: Dilong
Xu et al., 2004
Species: D. paradoxus
Type species
Dilong paradoxus

Dilong (meaning "emperor dragon") is an extinct genus of small proceratosaurid tyrannosauroid dinosaur.[1] The only species is Dilong paradoxus. It is from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation near Lujiatun, Beipiao, in the western Liaoning province of China. It lived about 125 million years ago.


Dilong holotype

Type specimen

It was described by Xu Xing and colleagues in 2004.[2]

The name is derived from the Chinese 帝 meaning 'emperor' and 龙 / 龍 lóng meaning 'dragon'. "Di", "emperor", refers to the relationship of this animal to Tyrannosaurus rex, the "king" tyrannosaurid. "Long" is used to name Chinese dinosaurs in much the same way that the Latin -saur(us) is in the West. The specific name, paradoxus, is a Latinisation of the Ancient Greeks παράδοξον meaning 'against received wisdom'.


Dilong paradoxus size 01

Size comparison between Dilong and a human.

The type specimen is IVPP 14243 (Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing), a nearly complete, semi-articulated, skull and skeleton. Referred material includes IVPP 1242, a nearly complete skull and presacral vertebrae, TNP01109 (Tianjin Museum of Natural History), a partial skull, and IVPP V11579, another skull which may belong to D. paradoxus, or to a related species. The type specimen of Dilong was about 1.6 m (5.2 ft) in length, but it is thought to be a juvenile and may have been over 2 m (6.6 ft) long when fully grown.


See also Feathered dinosaurs

Dilong paradoxus had a covering of simple feathers or protofeathers. The feathers were seen in fossilized skin impressions from near the jaw and tail. They are not identical to modern bird feathers, lacking a central shaft and most likely used for warmth, since they could not have enabled flight. Adult tyrannosaurs, found in Alberta and Mongolia have skin impressions which appear to show the pebbly scales typical of other dinosaurs. Xu et al. (2004) speculated that the tyrannosauroids may have had different skin coverings on different parts of their bodies - perhaps mixing scales and feathers. They also speculated that feathers may correlate negatively with body size - that juveniles may have been feathered, then shed the feathers and expressed only scales as the animal became larger and no longer needed insulation to stay warm.


When Dilong was first described, it was considered one of the earliest and most primitive members of Tyrannosauroidea, the group that includes the later, larger tyrannosaurids such as Tyrannosaurus rex. At least one later study, by Turner and colleagues in 2007, reanalyzed the relationships of coelurosaurian dinosaurs, including Dilong, and found that it was not a tyrannosauroid. Rather, they placed Dilong two steps above the tyrannosauroids in their phylogeny; more advanced than Coelurus, but more primitive than the Compsognathidae.[3] However, other studies continued to find Dilong as a tyrannosauroid, and some (such as Carr & Williamson 2010) found Dilong to fall within Tyrannosauroidea, not among the more advanced coelurosaurs.[4]

Below is a cladogram containing most tyrannosauroids by Loewen et al. in 2013.[5]

In a 2014 study, Dilong was found to be a proceratosaurid.[1]

In popular culture[]

  • Fossils of Dilong was seen in T. Rex New Science New Beast. Especially 2 T.Rex hatchings have the same Black, yellow & Reddish orange coloring of an illustrated Dilong.
  • The Dilong was 1st featured in a 2007 documentary Mammals Vs Dinos: The Rise of Mammals where a pack of 3 ‘’D. paradoxus’’ were out hunting for prey in the subtropical forest of Liaoning 125 million years ago. The pack picked up the sound & scent of their victim, the baby dinosaur-eating mammal Repenomamus. The pack chased it down, The prey was caught and killed. Then the pack ate the dino-eating mammal.
  • A meat eating Dinosaur that Appeared in PBS's Nova “The Four Winged Dinosaur” is possibly a Dilong.
  • Dilong made its first appearance on the Big Screen in a 2009 Film Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. In the movie, the species was not seen alive; there were six skeletons of Dilong that died from a gas.
  • A pack of Dilong made an appearance in the 2014 Film Dinosaur Island.
  • Dilong was in Dinosaur Train as a illustration on episode "Buddy Explores the Tyrannosaurs".
  • It also appeared in James Gurney's documentary TYRANNOSAURS: Behind the Art, where a pack of Dilong try to defend their kill from their larger relative Yutyrannus.


See also[]

  • Timeline of tyrannosaur research


  1. 1.0 1.1 Juan D. Porfiri, Fernando E. Novas, Jorge O. Calvo, Federico L. Agnolín, Martín D. Ezcurra and Ignacio A. Cerda (2014). "Juvenile specimen of Megaraptor (Dinosauria, Theropoda) sheds light about tyrannosauroid radiation". Cretaceous Research 51: 35–55. DOI:10.1016/j.cretres.2014.04.007. 
  2. Xu, X., Norell, M. A., Kuang, X., Wang, X., Zhao, Q., Jia, C. (2004). "Basal tyrannosauroids from China and evidence for protofeathers in tyrannosauroids". Nature 431 (7009): 680–684. DOI:10.1038/nature02855. PMID 15470426. 
  3. Turner, A.H., Pol, D., Clarke, J.A., Erickson, G.M., and Norell, M. (2007). "Supporting online material for: A basal dromaeosaurid and size evolution preceding avian flight". Science, 317: 1378-1381. doi:10.1126/science.1144066 (supplement)
  4. Carr T.D., Williamson T.E. (2010). "Bistahieversor sealeyi, gen. et sp. nov., a new tyrannosauroid from New Mexico and the origin of deep snouts in Tyrannosauroidea". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30 (1): 1–16. DOI:10.1080/02724630903413032. 
  5. (2013) "Tyrant Dinosaur Evolution Tracks the Rise and Fall of Late Cretaceous Oceans". PLoS ONE 8 (11): e79420. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0079420. 

External links[]