Pronunciation: zoo-OH-long Meaning: Zuo dragon Author/s: Choiniere et al . (2010) Synonyms: None known First Discovery: Xinjiang, China Chart Position: 591
(Sallee's Zuo dragon)EtymologyZuolong is derived from "Zuo" (in honor of General Zuo Zongtang [previously romanized as Tso Tsung-tang] who smashed several uprisings and recaptured Xinjiang from rebels during the Qing dynasty) and the Chinese long (dragon). Military heroics aside, "General Tso" is most famous for the "Chinese" chicken dish named after him, which is about as Chinese as pizza or apple pie. Apparently, the original and much different dish was created by Peng Chang-kuei (aka Peng Jia) who fled to New York in 1973 via Taiwan to avoid the Chinese civil war, but super-sugared the sauce to appeal to the American palate. When he returned to Hunan with this and other Americanized dishes in the 1990s his new restaurant failed miserably because they were far too sweet for the locals. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the dish is a complete mystery to anyone from Zuo's home province of Henan and doesn't get so much as a passing mention in cookery books from the area. Imigrant chef T.T. Wang also claims to have created the dish in 1972, though he seduced New Yorkers further by deep frying the chicken. We have it on good authority that Wang's dish was originally called "General Ching's chicken", but somewhere down the line both versions seem to have merged, resulting in the calorie-packed sticky-sweet concoction that we know as "General Tso's chicken" today.
The species epithet, sallei, honors Hilmar Sallee, who left research funding in his will.
DiscoveryThe remains of Zuolong were discovered at Wucaiwan in the upper part of the Shishugou Formation, Xinjiang, China, by the Sino-American field expedition of 2001.
The holotype (IVPP V15912) is a partial skull and skeleton including three teeth, five neck, four back, five sacral, and eight tail vertebrae, some arm bones, a partial hip, both thighs, the right shin, a partial left shank, and some foot bones.