Guanlong (Crown dragon)
Guanlong (Crown dragon)
Named By : Xu et al. - 2006
Diet : Carnivore
Size : Estimated 3 meters long
Type of Dinosaur : Small Theropod
Type Species : G. wucaii (type)
Found in : China - Shishugou Formation
When it Lived : Late Jurassic, 159-154 million years ago
Guanlong (Guan Long) is an extinct genus proceratosaurid, tyrannosauroid from China’s Late Jurassic. Xu Xing et. al. first described the taxon in 2006. They found it to be a new taxon that is closely related to Tyrannosaurus. Chinese words translate as “crown Dragon” and the name comes from Chinese. There are currently two individuals known: a partially completed adult and a juvenile. These specimens are from the Oxfordian Stage of the Chinese Shishugou Formation.
It was approximately 3 m (9.8 feet) long and its fossils were discovered in the Shishugou Formation. They date to 160 million years ago in the Oxfordian stage, which is 92 million years after its close relative Tyrannosaurus. The bipedal saurischian, theropod, shared many traits with its descendents, but also had some unique ones, such as a large crest at its head. Guanlong, unlike later tyrannosaurs had three long fingers. It would have shared a crest with its close relative Dilong. And, like Dilong, may have had primitive feathers on its coat.
Guanlong was found in China’s Dzungaria region by a team of scientists from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology and George Washington University. It was named by Xu Xing and other researchers in 2006. Guanlong is a combination of the Chinese words Guan (crown) and Long (dragon), which refers to the crest. The epithet Wu Cai, wucaii (Hanyu Piyin: Wucai) refers to “multicolored” and the colours of rock in the Wucaiwan (Wu Cai Wan, “5-colored Bay”, “multicolored Bay”), which is the multi-hued badlands, where the creature was discovered.
Guanlong, which is currently known from two specimens (one discovered on top of another, along with three other theropod dinosaurs) in the Shishugou Formation, is now well-known. The holotype IVPP V14531 is an adult skeleton that was partially articulated and fairly complete. It was also the one on top. The paratype IVPP V14532 is an immature specimen. It has been identified from nearly complete and fully articulated remains. It was believed to have been trampled by the adult after it died. The immature skull has a crest that is significantly smaller than the adult. Its crest extends to the forward part of the snout. Both specimens’ crests are delicate, thin structures that probably served as display organs for events such as mating.