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a meat-eating carcharodontosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of China.
Pronunciation: kuhl-MAH-yi-SOR-us
Meaning: Karamay City lizard
Author/s: Zhiming Dong (1973)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Xinjiang, China
Chart Position: 185

Kelmayisaurus petrolicus

Known only from jaw fragments that Dong described as "similar to those of Ceratosaurus" in 1973, Kelmayisaurus was something of an enigma, considered a basal member of Tetanurae at best and dubious at worst, right up until 2012. That's when Steve Brusatte and colleagues revisited its meagre Xinjiang-discovered remains and provided the first detailed and meaningful description of its anatomy.

Although undoubtedly a tetanuran, a groove on its lower jaw proved that Kelmayisaurus was unique and thus valid. But more rigorous analysis was required after the discovery of a fused band of structures that sit between the teeth (aka interdental plates) that are found in no less than four families of carnivorous dinosaur. The lack of rugose bone texture, a "chinlike" nubbin on its lower jaw and various other features systematically struck off the non-specialist allosauroids, ceratosaurs and megalosaurs. Then—bingo—its affinities finally came into focus. Interdental plates of such depth are hallmarks of just one group of dinosaurs—the carcharodontosaurids, which makes Kelmayisaurus only the second "shark-toothed lizard" known from the whole of Asia. The first is Shaochilong maortuensis from Maortu, 60 km north of Chilantai in Inner Mongolia, which Brusatte named three years earlier.

Carcharodontosauridae includes some of the largest predatory dinosaurs ever to live but, unfortunately, Kelmayisaurus isn't one of them. Although known only from jaw fragments, paleontologists have estimated that it's "just" 10 meters long and around a ton and a half in weight which is modest in carcharodontosaurid terms. But at least it deserves its place on the roll call of dinosaurs, which is more than can be said for most other Asian theropods that were named during the 1970s.
Kelmayisaurus is derived from "Kelamay" (for the petroleum-producing city of Kelamayi— aka Karamay or Qaramay—meaning "black oil" in the Uyghur language) where it was found, and the Greek "sauros" (lizard). The species epithet, petrolicus, also refers to its discovery area.
Karamay became the site of one of the most dispicable disasters in modern Chinese history on 8th Dec 1994. 324 people (288 of them school children, aged 7-14) perished during a cinema fire after being ordered to remain seated so twenty Communist Party officials could leave first via the only emergency exit that was unlocked. The order giver has since been outed, albeit unofficially, as Kuang Li — then vice-director of the state petroleum company’s local education centre — who took refuge in a ladies’ cloakroom that could have sheltered 30 people until help arrived. But she barred the doors behind her and wouldn't let anyone else in.
Kelmayisaurus was discovered at "Urho" (IVPP site 64043) in the Lianmugin Formation (Tugulu Group), Kelamay, Junggar Basin, Wuerho, Xinjiang, China by Zhiming Dong.
The holotype (IVPP V.4022) is a partial maxilla and a dentary (tooth bearing bones of the upper and lower jaw) from the left side.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Aptian-Albian
Age range: 122-100 mya
Est. max. length: 10 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 1.6 tons
Diet: Carnivore
Kelmayisaurus gigantus
Kelmayisaurus gigantus was listed in Wayne Grady's book "The Dinosaur Project: The Story of the Greatest Dinosaur Expedition Ever Mounted" as the owner of a gigantic vertebral column some 22 meters long. Apparently, Grady got the name from Dale Russell's notebooks, but Russell hasn't even heard of it. It's probably a sauropod, but it has yet to be officially named and described.
• Z. Dong (1973) "Dinosaurs from Wuerho". Reports of Paleontological Expedition to Sinkiang (II): Pterosaurian Fauna from Wuerho, Sinkiang. Memoirs of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Academia Sinica 11:45-52.
• Holtz T.R, Molnar R.E. and Currie P.J. (2004) "Basal Tetanurae" in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmólska (eds.) "The Dinosauria: Second Edition".
• Wayne Grady (1993) "The Dinosaur Project: The Story of the Greatest Dinosaur Expedition Ever Mounted". /uk.
• Stephen L. Brusatte, Roger B. J. Benson, and Xing Xu (2010) "A reassessment of Kelmayisaurus petrolicus, a large theropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of China".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "KELMAYISAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 21st Feb 2018.