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NUROSAURUS

a plant-eating sauropod dinosaur of uncertain age and affinities from China.
Pronunciation: Nur-o-SOR-us
Meaning: Lake lizard
Author/s: Dong (informal) (1992)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Inner Mongolia, China
Chart Position:

"Nurosaurus qaganensis"

"Nurosaurus" was coined in 1992 and attached to a sauropod that spent over two decades on the travelling sideshow circuit being variously listed under "Nurosaurus", "Nuoersaurus" or "Nuoerosaurus" and with an epithet of "qaganensis" or "chaganensis". Funnily enough, all of those spellings have been used by Chinese paleontologist Zhiming Dong, who discovered its remains and chose the initial name. However, he's in no rush to make the name official in a peer-reviewed paper, and seems content to refer to it as "an unusual sauropod" and leave it at that, which is both a shame and suspicious in equal measure.

At some 25 meters in length, "Nurosaurus" is one of the largest known Chinese sauropods—even out lengthing most mamenchisaurines who have five more neck vertebrae—and its estimated weight is around a ton per meter. Despite an Asian provenence, "Nurosaurus" appears to be most closely related to North America's Camarasaurus which is as common as muck in the vast Morrison Formation. But this opinion is based merely on a similar body shape, split spines on its back vertebrae, and a deep, robust skull which may well be 50% plaster, because it hasn't been officially described either.

In 2005, Bruce Rothschild and Ralph Molnar found a stress fracture in a hind foot of "Nurosaurus" that was also present in the same foot of a Camarasaurus specimen. How spooky is that?
Etymology
We suspect both the "Nur" of "Nurosaurus" and the species epithet qaganensis (from Qagan in Latin) refer to Qagan Nur (White Lake in Mongolian)—the largest inland salt lake in Jilin Province and one of the ten largest lakes in China, that lent its name to the Qagannur (aka Chagannur) Formation. The "chagan" of the alternate species epithet, chaganensis, is merely a spelling variant of Qagan, and has nothing to do with the other Chagan—a Soviet underground nuclear test conducted at the Semipalatinsk Test Site on January 15, 1965. Until an official description arrives nothing is set in stone. What we do know, however, is that "saurus" is definately derived from the Greek "sauros" (lizard).
Discovery
The remains of "Nurosaurus" were discovered in the Qagannur Formation, southeast of Erenhot, Inner Mongolia, China. A holotype has yet to be chosen.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Uncertain
Stage: Uncertain
Age range: Uncertain
Stats:
Est. max. length: 25 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 25 tons
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Saurischia
Sauropodomorpha
Sauropoda
"Nurosaurus
qaganensis"
References
• Bruce M. Rothschild and Ralph E. Molnar (2005) Sauropod stress fractures as clues to activity" in Tidwell and Carpenter (eds.) "Thunder Lizards: The Sauropodomorph Dinosaurs".
• Annie Lee (September 20th, 2014) "Who is killing the birds in beautiful Inner Mongolia?"
• Zhiming Dong (1992) "Dinosaurian faunas of China".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "NUROSAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 27th Jun 2017.
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