Wind slices through Kulindadromeus’s feathers as he runs, as fast as his two small legs can carry him. Although Kulindadromeus is only five feet long, the little dinosaur is known in his habitat for his speed.
The wind feels good, but after a few minutes Kulindadromeus slows down and stops to take a drink from the river near where he lives. From the edge of the water he has a good view of one of the many volcanoes in the area. They are all active, but Kulindadromeus has adapted to life near the volcanoes and knows how to get away when necessary.
He takes a few steps into the water and splashes around. His feathers on his arms and legs get weighed down by the water, but Kulindadromeus doesn’t care. The day is warm and the extra insulation is a burden, at least for now. When night falls, the down feathers will be more welcome.
After his thirst is quenched and Kulindadromeus has cooled down, he leaves the water and searches for food. Vegetation lies only a few feet away, but he is tough plant matter. Fortunately, Kulindadromeus has sharp ridges in his teeth to help he chew. He bites into his lunch with gusto, loudly chewing with his mouth open.
The vegetation is tough, but the scales on Kulindodromeus’ hands, ankles, and feet help protect the dinosaur and prevent cuts. Kulindadromeus also has scales on his tail, which he uses to help balance while he bites off vegetation.
The bristles on Kulindadromeus’ head and back stiffen, and, sensing another dinosaur, Kulindadromeus takes a break from lunch and turns around.
A female Kulindadromeus awaits him. Though Kulindadromeus is still a juvenile, he is old enough to know how his kind mates. Wanting to impress the female, he uses his short arms to show off his impressive, soft feathers.
The female, who is also young, seems to approve. Slowly she approaches Kulindadromeus, but is interrupted when the nearby volcano erupts. The eruption is sudden, and ash and lava spew out thousands of feet into the air, accompanied by a deafening roar. Ash and dust form a large dark cloud that starts to roll towards the dinosaurs.
Kulindodromeus can see rocks falling. Kulindodromeus quickly looks over to the female, and they give each other a curt nod before taking off. Lava could start flowing at any moment, and it is best to get away as far as possible.
Kulindodromeus flaps its arms, but it cannot fly. Instead, both Kulindodromeus and the female Kulindodromeus run as fast as they can. Behind them the smoke and ash gobbles everything up, covering everything in darkness.
The two run for miles, not stopping to look back. They head up hill when they can. Eventually, they can no longer run, and they collapse. Fortunately the volcano’s eruption is relatively small, and they are out of harm’s way.
After stopping to catch his breath, Kulindadromeus looks over at the female Kulindadromeus. She feels him staring and she looks back at him. He raises his arms, so she can once again see his impressive feathers.
Facts about Kulindadromeus:
- Kulindadromeus lived about 160 million years ago and lived in Easter Siberia
- The dinosaur was pretty small, about the size of a turkey
- Kulindadromeus walked on two legs and had short arms
- It also had scales on its tail and shins, short bristles on its head and back, and feathers on its arms and legs
- Kulindadromeus is one of the few herbivores found to have fossil feathers, which makes some scientists believe all dinosaurs could have had feathers, or at least the potential for feathers
- The area where Kulindadromeus was found had a lot of volcanoes. Fossil feathers are rare, and the reason why they may be preserved in Kulindadromeus is because the dinosaur specimens fell to the bottom of the nearby lake and was covered in ash
- Kulindadromeus could not fly, but it may have used its feathers for insulation or display
Find out more in the I Know Dino podcast, episode 12, “Kulindadromeus.”
- “Feathered plant-eating dinosaur found” on CBC News
- “Siberian Discovery Suggest Almost All Dinosaurs Were Feathered” on National Geographic
- “Did All Dinosaurs Sport Feathers? Downy Beast Suggests Yes” on Live Science
- “Earliest dinosaurs may have sported feathers” on Science Mag
- “Neornithischia” on Wikipedia
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