Shunosaurus (Shu lizard)
Shunosaurus (Shu lizard)
Named By : Ding, Zhou, & Zhang – 1983
Diet : Herbivore
Size : Estimated 9.5 meters long
Type of Dinosaur : Sauropod
Type Species : S. lii (type)
Found in : China – Shangshaximiao Formation, Xiashaximiao Formation
When it Lived : Mid Jurassic, 170-160 million years ago
Shunosaurus is a Latin word meaning “shu lizard”, is an genus of sauropods which originated from Late Jurassic (Oxfordian) beds in the Sichuan Province in China, around 159 millions of years ago. The name is derived of “Shu”, an ancient name used for Sichuan Province. Sichuan province.
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
First fossils of Shunosaurus was found during 1977 by a small group of students who were engaged in paleontological excavation on an area of roadbank. The species of type, Shunosaurus lii, was identified and identified by Dong Zhiming, Zhou Shiwu and Zhang Yihong in 1983. The generic name comes in “Shu”, an ancient name that refers to Sichuan. The name is a tribute to the hydrologist Li Bing, the governor of Sichuan during the 3rd century BC.
The Holotype, IVPP V.9065, was taken from the Lower Xiashaximiao Formation near Dashanpu, Zigong. It is comprised of a fragmented skull. In the following years, more than twenty important specimens were discovered comprising a number of complete or nearly complete skeletons skulls, and juveniles. This makes Shunosaurus among the most sauropods with anatomically-defined anatomy, having 94% of the bones identified as skeletal. Shunosaurus Skeletons are displayed on display at the Zigong Dinosaur Museum in Zigong, Sichuan Province, and the Tianjin Natural History Museum.
A second species that has been proposed, S. ziliujingensis, which is that is mentioned within the Zigong museum guide as an older, smaller species however, has never been officially identified, so it remains an unspecified nomen nudum.
In 2004, a partially articulated sample from Jiangyi Township in Yuanmou County was identified as the newly discovered species Shunosaurus Jiangyiensis. It has nine cervicals, fifteen dorsals, 3 sacrals, four caudals and both scapulae, the right clavicle and coracoid and the left forelimb is devoid of the hand, pubis and an ischium as well as the hind limb of the right, located in the upper portion of the Middle Jurassic Xiashaximiao Formation. The species was differentiated from Shunosaurus Lii due to its distinctive pectoral girdle however, it was described as identical to Shunosaurus Lii and Kunmingosaurus.