Dilong ('emperor dragon') is a genus of small carnivorous dinosaur. The only known species is Dilong paradoxus. It is from Lower Cretaceous near Lujiatun, Beipiao, in the western Liaoning province of China It lived about 130 million years ago.
Temporal range: Lower Cretaceous
Dilong paradoxus Type species
The animal 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: they lack a central shaft. Their likely function was to retain body warmth. They could not have been used for flight. Adult tyrannosaurs found in Alberta and Mongolia have skin impressions which appear to show the pebbly scales typical of other dinosaurs.
- Xu X. et al 2004. Basal tyrannosauroids from China and evidence for protofeathers in tyrannosauroids. Nature 431 (7009): 680–684.