Yuanmousaurus (Yuanmou lizard)
J. Lü, S. Li, G. Wang, J. Zhang & Z. Dong - 2006
Estimated 9-10 meters long
Y. jingyiensis (type)
China, Yunnan Province - Zhanghe Formation
Mid Jurassic, 165 million years ago
Yuanmousaurus is a genus of herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Middle Jurassic period, approximately 165 million years ago. Its name comes from the location where its fossils were discovered, in Yuanmou County, Yunnan Province, China. Yuanmousaurus belonged to the sauropod family and was a distant relative of well-known giants like Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus.
Yuanmousaurus was a medium-sized sauropod, estimated to have been around 9-10 meters in length and weighing around 3-4 tons. It had a long neck and tail, and a relatively small head with chisel-like teeth that it used to strip leaves from plants. Like other sauropods, it would have had to eat vast quantities of vegetation to sustain its massive body.
The fossils of Yuanmousaurus are not particularly well-preserved, but they have provided enough information to help paleontologists understand the evolutionary history of sauropods. For example, the structure of its vertebrae indicates that it had not yet evolved the fully fused backbone that characterizes later sauropods. Its forelimbs were also relatively long and slender compared to the stout legs of later sauropods.
Yuanmousaurus is one of the many fascinating dinosaur species that help us understand the diversity of life on Earth millions of years ago. Its discovery in China is particularly important as it helps to fill in gaps in our understanding of the evolutionary history of sauropods in Asia.