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a meat-eating metriacanthosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of China.
Pronunciation: yan-CHWAHN-o-SOR-us
Meaning: Yangchuan lizard
Author/s: Dong (1975)
Synonyms: See below
First Discovery: Sichuan, China
Chart Position: 195

Yangchuanosaurus shangyouensis

It warms the cockles of our heart when untrained-in-paleontology but never the less hard working individuals unearth ground breaking fossils by accident and manage not to smash them to pieces, so caps off to labourers carrying out repair work on the Shangyou Reservoir Dam in China's Yongchuan District after a storm in 1976.

Yangchuanosaurus - a relative of Allosaurus - was smaller and less famous than its North American counterpart, but at over ten meters long and close to three tons in weight it was hardly meek and mild. Specifically a sinraptorid, the biggest sinraptorid, and one of the biggest Jurassic theropods from the whole of Asia, it would have found the noodle-necks of the contemporaneous sauropods Mamenchisaurus and Omeisaurus irresistable... from a dining point of view.

One of its most striking features was a deep and robust but extremely lightweight skull due to six pairs of fenestrae or windows. This was a natural feature and not a side effect of the dynamite needed to blast it from its rocky tomb and gave it a much lighter head than similar sized Theropods, even taking a bony nose knob, horny bits and possible keratine "mask" into account.

In 1988 Greg Paul sunk Yangchuanosaurus into Metriacanthosaurus, Currie and Zhou moved a second species—Yangchuanosaurus helpingensis—to Sinraptor helpingensis in 1993, and in 1999 Gao Yuhui regarded Sinraptor on the whole as synonymous with Yangchuanosaurus. Only Currie and Zhao were taken seriously though there may be a second valid species of Yangchuanosaurus kicking around...
Yangchuanosaurus is derived from "Yongchuan" (for Yongchuan county, its place of discovery) and the Greek "sauros" (lizard). The Shangyou dam is honored in the species epithet - shangyouensis.
The first remains of Yangchuanosaurus were discovered in the Upper Shaximiao Formation (Chongqing Group), 350 m from the base of the dam at Shangyou Reservoir, Yongchuan County, China, in July of 1976. The holotype (CV00215) is an almost complete skeleton barring the forelimbs and a few vertebrae. The skull measures 82 cm long and 50 cm high.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Jurassic
Stage: Oxfordian
Age range: 162-156 mya
Est. max. length: 11 meters
Est. max. hip height: 3 meters
Est. max. weight: 3.5 tons
Diet: Carnivore
Family Tree:
Other species
Yangchuanosaurus zigongensis ("from Zigong") was originally named Szechuanosaurus zigongensis by Gao in 1993 based on an almost complete skeleton (holotype ZDM 9011, plus ZDM 9012, ZDM 9013 and ZDM 9014) from the Dashanpu Dinosaur Quarry of Zigong, Sichuan. Chure 2001 believed that these fossils belonged to Szechuanoraptor dongi—a name he coined in 2001 for remnants which were originally known as Szechuanosaurus "yandonensis". Lacking similarities and being from the much older Middle Jurassic lower Shaximiao (Xiashaximiao) Formation, these remains were used to anchor a new species of YangchuanosaurusYangchuanosaurus zigongensis—by Carrano in 2012. This is the only other species of Yangchuanosaurus that is classed as valid.
Yangchuanosaurus hepingensis ("from Heping") was discovered in the Upper Shaximiao (Shangshaximiao) Formation about 1 km north of the Zigong Train Station by He Geyin, Wang Fucheng and other farmers from Heping in February of 1985. It was named by Gao Yuhui in 1992 but became a second species of SinraptorSinraptor helpingensis—when Currie and Zhao named Sinraptor dongi in 1993. In 1999 Gao figured that by synonomising Sinraptor with Yangchuanosaurus not only would he get his Yangchuanosaurus helpingensis back he would also add a fourth species—Yangchuanosaurus dongi—to the Yangchuanosaurus stable. Unfortunately (for him!) no-one took his revenge-sinking seriously.
Yangchuanosaurus magnus ("Great") was named by Dong, Zhou, and Zhangin in 1983, simply for being the largest specimen of Yangchuanosaurus ever discovered. According to Cerrano et al, size is pretty much the only difference between Yangchuanosaurus magnus and Yangchuanosaurus shangyouensis from the same locality, and no grounds to keep them separate, which is what most paleontologists have always thought.
Yangchuanosaurus shangyouensis:
Yangchuanosaurus magnus (Dong, Zhou & Zhang, 1983)
Szechuanosaurus yandonensis (Dong et al., 1978)
Szechuanoraptor dongi (Chure, 2001)
Yangchuanosaurus zigongensis:
Szechuanosaurus zigongensis (Gao, 1993)
• D. Zhiming (1975) "A new carnosaur from Yongchuan County, Sichuan Province".
• Paul, Gregory S. (1988) "Eustreptospondylids and Metriacanthosaurs" in "Predatory Dinosaurs of the World: A Complete Illustrated Guide".
• Dong, Zhiming; Shiwu, Zhou; Zhang, Yihong (1983) "Dinosaurs from the Jurassic of Sichuan".
• Yuhui Gao (1992) "Yangchuanosaurus hepingensis - a new species of carnosaur from Zigong, Sichuan, China".
• Gao Yuhui (1999) "A complete carnosaur skeleton from Zigong, Sichuan".
• G.S. Paul (2010) "The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "YANGCHUANOSAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 30th Mar 2017.