Feathered Dinosaurs

Initially, dinosaurs were believed to be ancestors of modern-day lizards, which is why their name means “terrible lizard” in Greek. However, even early on, scientists like biologist Thomas Henry Huxley and paleontologist John H. Ostrom proposed that dinosaurs were also the predecessors of current species of birds.

This was confirmed with the discovery of preserved feathers in China in the 1990s alongside complete skeletons not only proved that some of them were ancestors of modern birds, but certain dinosaurs also had feathers on their bodies.

Most of these were two-legged theropods with small forearms that would eventually develop into wings. This includes dinosaurs belonging to the clade Coelurosauria, such as velociraptors, ornithomimids, and microraptors.

Feathered Dinosaurs

List of Dinosaurs With Feathers

Avian Dinosaurs with Feathers

  • Archaeopteryx albersdoerferi
  • Archaeopteryx lithographica
  • Archaeopteryx siemensii
  • Confuciusornis dui
  • Confuciusornis feducciai
  • Confuciusornis jianchangensis
  • Confuciusornis sanctus
  • Confuciusornis shifan
  • Hesperornis altus
  • Hesperornis bairdi
  • Hesperornis chowi
  • Hesperornis crassipes
  • Hesperornis gracilis
  • Hesperornis lumgairi
  • Hesperornis macdonaldi
  • Hesperornis mengeli
  • Hesperornis montana
  • Hesperornis regalis
  • Hesperornis rossicus
  • Ichthyornis dispar

Non-avian Dinosaurs With Feathers

  • Ambopteryx longibrachium
  • Anchiornis huxleyi
  • Apatoraptor pennatus
  • Aurornis xui
  • Avimimus portentosus
  • Beipiaosaurus inexpectus
  • Caihong juji
  • Caudipteryx dongi
  • Caudipteryx zoui
  • Changyuraptor yangi
  • Chirostenotes pergracilis
  • Citipati osmolskae
  • Coelurus bauri
  • Concavenator corcovatus
  • Conchoraptor gracilis
  • Dakotaraptor steini
  • Daurlong wangi
  • Deinocheirus mirificus
  • Deinonychus antirrhopus
  • Dilong paradoxus
  • Dineobellator notohesperus
  • Eosinopteryx brevipenna
  • Epidexipteryx hui
  • Fulicopus lyellii
  • Incisivosaurus gauthieri
  • Jianchangosaurus yixianensis
  • Jianianhualong tengi
  • Jinfengopteryx elegans
  • Juravenator starki
  • Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus
  • Microraptor zhaoianus
  • Ningyuansaurus wangi
  • Nomingia gobiensis
  • Ornithomimus edmontonicus
  • Ornithomimus velox
  • Ostromia crassipes
  • Pedopenna daohugouensis
  • Protarchaeopteryx robusta
  • Psittacosaurus amitabha
  • Psittacosaurus gobiensis
  • Psittacosaurus lujiatunensis
  • Psittacosaurus mazongshanensis
  • Psittacosaurus meileyingensis
  • Psittacosaurus mongoliensis
  • Psittacosaurus neimongoliensis
  • Psittacosaurus ordosensis
  • Psittacosaurus sibiricus
  • Psittacosaurus sinensis
  • Psittacosaurus xinjiangensis
  • Rahonavis ostromi
  • Scansoriopteryx heilmanni
  • Sciurumimus albersdoerferi
  • Serikornis sungei
  • Shuvuuia deserti
  • Similicaudipteryx yixianensis
  • Sinocalliopteryx gigas
  • Sinornithosaurus millenii
  • Sinosauropteryx prima
  • Tianyulong confuciusi
  • Velociraptor mongoliensis
  • Wulong bohaiensis
  • Xiaotingia zhengi
  • Xingtianosaurus ganqi
  • Yi qi
  • Yixianosaurus longimanus
  • Yutyrannus huali
  • Zhenyuanlong suni


1. How did feathers help the dinosaurs that developed them?

The feathers helped to keep the dinosaur’s skin free of dirt and may have been used to attract mates.

2. Did all dinosaurs have feathers?

3. Were dinosaurs covered with feathers able to fly?

No, not all dinosaurs with feathers were capable of flight. Current research indicates even those that displayed this capability, like Archaeopteryx and Microraptor, mostly leaped off of high places and glided for short bursts rather than flying on their own by flapping their wings like modern birds.

4. What dinosaur had feathers and swims?

The various Hesperornis species were capable of both flying and swimming. This has led to them being compared to modern-day cormorants.

5. Which feathered dinosaur looked like Tyrannosaurus rex?

While there are ongoing debates over whether Tyrannosaurus rex itself was covered with feathers, similar species like Yutyrannus huali and Dilong paradoxus have been confirmed to have feathers.