Tuesday 15 April 2014

A Sauropod Dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of Yunnan Province, China.

Sauropod dinosaurs were massive, long-necked, long-tailed creatures that have long been regarded as the largest land animals ever to have lived. They reached their most diverse in the Late Jurassic, with only two groups surviving into the Cretaceous, and only one of those groups and only one of those groups surviving till the end of the period. 

In a forthcoming paper in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, available online since 6 June 2013, Lida Xing of the School of the Earth Sciences and Resources at the China University of GeosciencesTetsuto Miyashita and Philip Currie of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta, Hailu You of the Institute of Geology at the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences and Zhiming Dong of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, describe a new species of Sauropod Dinosaur from the lower Middle Jurassic Zhanghe Formation near Xiabanjing in Yuanmou County of Yunnan Province, China.

The new species is named Nebulasaurus taito, where 'Nebulasaurus' means 'misty-cloud-lizard', a reference to Yunnan province where the specimen was found ('Yunnan' means 'southern cloudy' in Chinese) and 'taito' honours the Taito Corporation of Japan, who funded the field project during which the specimen was found. The species is described from an isolated brain-case.

Photographs of Nebulasaurus. (A) The braincase in right lateral view. (B) Details of the metotic region in left lateral view. Abbreviations: fo, fenestra ovalis, jf, jugular foramen, XII, foramen for hypoglossal nerve. Xing et al. (2013).

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