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TIANCHIASAURUS

a plant-eating ankylosaurid dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of China.
Pronunciation: TYEN-CHEE-uh-SOR-us
Meaning: Heavenly Lake lizard
Author/s: Dong (1993)
Synonyms: See etymology
First Discovery: Xinjiang, China
Chart Position: 312

Tianchiasaurus nedegoapeferima

Tianchiasaurus, also spelled Tianchisaurus (in Dong's original description, no less), was discovered by students from Xinjiang University close to the famous Tianchi (Heavenly Lake) in the huge mountain system of Tian Shan (Celestial Mountains). It is one of the most primitive known ankylosaurids, the first ankylosaur known from the Middle Jurassic of central Asia, and possibly the first non-dubious ankylosaur known from the Jurassic of anywhere, but its name is not what it was planned to be.

Originally pencilled-in as "Jurassosaurus" after the coffers of Chinese paleontology were promised a generous boost courtesy of Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg, Tianchiasaurus is the only dinosaur to have a specific name which honors an entire hollywood movie cast. The palate-challenging epithet nedegoapeferima (ned-uh-go-ay-puh-fur-ee-muh) is formed from the surnames of "Jurassic Park" actor/esses Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Robert Peck, Martin Ferrero, Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazello, but perhaps the cash injection never materialised so neither did "Jurassosaurus".

Typical of early ankylosaurs, Tianchiasaurus was fairly small and had a relatively broad, heavy skull, well developed armour plates around its neck, and smaller, overlapping plates and scutes fortifying its broad, low-slung trunk, some of which were similar to those of Dracopelta. Its foot bones are unusually slender, its lower jaw is long, thin and stegosaur-like, and its vertebrae are flat at both ends (amphiplatyan) which are primitive features, even for an early ankylosaur, but it had a tail club, albeit a small flat one, which is a hallmark of the advanced ankylosaurids.
(Heavenly Lake Lizard)Etymology
Tianchiasaurus is derived from the pinyin Chinese "Tian" (Heavenly) and "chi" (Lake or Pool), and the Greek "sauros" (lizard), named for its place of discovery.
As well as several mispellings (Teinchisaurus, Tenchisaurus, Tenenchiasaurus), Tianchiasaurus was also referred to as "Tianchisaurus" in Dong's original paper. An attempted ammendment in a subsequent publication was ignored by the ICZN because he specifically announced Tianchiasaurus as a new genus and names can't be changed on the strength of a single connecting vowel. Tianchiasaurus with an extra "a" stands. The species epithet nedegoapeferima (originally pencilled-in as "nedegoapeferkimorum") honors the Jurassic Park Hollywood cast.
Discovery
The remains of Tianchiasaurus were discovered in Sangonghe Valley on the North Slope of Bogda Feng (the summit of which is 5,445 meters above sea level) of the Tian Shan (The Celestial Mountains) near the famous Lake known as Tianchi, in 1974. The site lies within the Toutunhe Formation, 35km northwest of Urumqi—the capital of Xinjiang, Fukang County, China. The holotype (IVPP V. 10614) consists of skull fragments, vertebrae: five cervical (neck), six dorsal (back), seven sacral (hip), and three caudal (tail), plus limb fragments, armour scutes and some unidentifiable bits and bobs. Apparently they all pertain to one critter.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Middle Jurassic
Stage: Bathonian
Age range: 168-165 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 3 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 200 Kg
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Ornithischia
Thyreophora
Ankylosauria
Ankylosauridae
Tianchiasaurus
nedegoapeferima
References
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "TIANCHIASAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 26th Jul 2017.
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