Xuwulong (Xuwu dragon)
You, Li & Liu – 2011
Estimated 5 meters long
X. yueluni (type)
China, Gansu Province
Early Cretaceous, 130 million years ago
Xuwulong is a genus of herbivorous dinosaur that lived in what is now China during the Early Cretaceous period, about 130 million years ago. The name Xuwulong means “Xuwu dragon”, with Xuwu being the name of the region where the dinosaur was discovered.
Xuwulong was a member of the hadrosaurid family, a group of dinosaurs commonly known as “duck-billed” dinosaurs due to their broad, flat snouts that resemble the beaks of modern ducks. Hadrosaurids were among the most common and diverse groups of herbivorous dinosaurs, and they were found on every continent during the Late Cretaceous period.
Xuwulong was a relatively small hadrosaurid, measuring about 5 meters (16 feet) in length and weighing around 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds). It was characterized by its unusually long and deep snout, which contained hundreds of tightly packed teeth that were used for grinding tough plant material. Xuwulong also had a distinctive bony crest on top of its head that may have been used for display or communication.
The discovery of Xuwulong has helped shed new light on the evolution and diversity of hadrosaurids during the Early Cretaceous period. Its long snout and unique head crest suggest that hadrosaurids were experimenting with new and different feeding strategies during this time, which may have contributed to their later success and dominance in the Late Cretaceous period.