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Shenzhousaurus

Name: »Shenzhou lizard«

Length: 1.5 m

Height: 0.6 m

Weight: 17 kg

Diet: omnivore

Time: Cretaceous (140 MYA)

Location: Asia (China)

Dinosaur stuff

Shenzhousaurus (Ji et al., 2003) is a genus of basal ornithomimosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of China. The holotype (NGMC 97-4-002, National Geological Museum of China) was collected from near the bottom (fluvial beds) of the Yixian Formation (Barremian) at the Sihetun fossil site, Beipiao, western Liaoning Province. This specimen consists of a partial skeleton preserved on a sandstone slab in a “death pose,” its head above the torso. The distal parts of the hindlimbs, distal portion of the tail, and the forelimbs (except for part of the right hand) and the pectoral girdle are missing. The head is crushed, exposing the left side obliquely. The genus is currently monotypic (type species, S. orientalis) and appears to be more derived than Pelecanimimus polyodon, yet less derived than Harpymimus oklandikovi. It may be distinguished from the latter by its “straight ischial shaft and acuminateposterior end of the ilium” (Makovicky et al., 2004), and from all other ornithomimosaurs excepting Harpymimus by the relative length of metacarpal I (only half that of metacarpal II) and in that its reduced dentition is restricted to the symphyseal portion of the dentary. The holotype skull measure 185 mm. A number of pebbles found in the thoracic cavity have been interpreted as gastroliths.

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Sauropsida

Superorder: Dinosauria

Order: Saurischia

Family: Ornithomimidae

Genus: Shenzhousaurus Ji et al., 2003

Species: S. orientalis Ji et al., 2003

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