The Asian warrior
There is much evidence that Yangchuanosaurus was a clever predator. Could it indeed plan its actions in advance? For obvious reasons we are not physically capable of verifying the truth, however it does not rule out creating more or less convincing theories about that predatory dinosaur.
The hereby described theropod is an Asian Allosauroid. Much like its next of kin it was a carnivore and evoked fear among herbivore dinosaurs with its mere size. Today we wind our clocks 160 million years back and take you for a short trip to Jurassic Asia.
- Clade: Dinosauria
- Order: Saurischia
- Suborder: Theropoda
- Clade: †Carnosauria
- Family: †Metriacanthosauridae
- Genus: †Yangchuanosaurus
- Yangchuanosaurus shangyouensis / Yangchuanosaurus magnus / Szechuanosaurus yandonensis / Szechuanoraptor dongi
- Yangchuanosaurus zigongensis
Dating and range
This dinosaur lived in today’s China about 160 – 150 million years ago (Late Jurassic). It resembled the North American Allosaurus (known so well thanks to Big Al) in terms of both size and appearance.
An almost complete skeleton of this theropod was found in 1977 in the Chinese Yongchuan district (Sichuan province). This dinosaur’s fossilized remains rested in the Shaximiao geological formation. Zhang Yihong working for the Natural History Museum in Chongqingu was the dinosaur’s discoverer, while the description is a work of Dong, Chang and Zhou, which created the species name Yangchuanosaurus shangyouensis.
The Yangchuanosaurus shangyouensis skull measures 82 cm (2ft 8in), its total body length is estimated to oscillate around 8 meters (26 ft). The Yangchuanosaurus magnus dinosaur could measure even more – over 10 meters (33 ft) – the found skull is 111 cm long (3ft 8in).
Yangchuanosaurus was a mighty dinosaur which walked on two strong legs ended with 3 fingers equipped with sizeable claws. The forelimbs, as for other theropods, were short, three-fingered. On a thick, relatively short neck a large head was located, which had substantially strong jaws. The large teeth had serrated edges. It also had a distinctive gnarl on the tip of its snout, as well as smaller horns and grooves.
Yangchuanosaurus belongs to the Carnosauria infraorder due to its skull structure and the arrangement of its hip bone.
In the past this dinosaur was not always classified as a Sinraptor, but rather Megalosaurus. However the latter family groups uncertain genera, which can hardly be classified in any other group. Nevertheless the described theropod was similar to the Megalosaurus in several aspects (teeth and jawbone structure), yet there was also a disparity in other features (e.g. a different shape of mandibles).
Detailed characteristic / size
- Body length: 7 – 10.8 m (22ft 12in – 35ft 5in)
- Body weight: up to 3.4 tons (7500lb)
- Dating: 161.2 – 154 million years ago
- Epoch: Late Jurassic
- Areas of occurrence: China, Sichuan province, Yongchuan district
Yangchuanosaurus – interesting facts
- The generic name stems from the localization of the theropod’s found skeleton.
- The first Yangchuanosaurus skeleton was found by a construction worker on the dam construction site in Sichuan province.
- The Yangchuanosaurus had so called anterior and posterior palate (bony-fleshy structure that separates the oral a nasal cavities. This means that the theropod could breath even with submerged mouth.
- Due to the body size/ brain size proportion it is speculated that Yangchuanosaurus could be a highly intelligent creature. Some even claim that it could make plans of attacks on its prey.
Images credit: unknown authors.
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