Huayangosaurus

huayango

Description

Huayangosaurus is a genus of stegosaurian dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of China. The name derives from “Huayang” (華陽), an alternate name forSichuan (the province where it was discovered), and “saurus”, meaning “lizard”. It lived during the Bathonian to Callovian stages, around 165 million years ago, some 20 million years before its famous relative, Stegosaurus appeared in North America. At only 4.5 metres long, it was also much smaller than its famous cousin. Found in the Lower Shaximiao Formation, Huayangosaurus shared the local Middle Jurassic landscape with the sauropods Shunosaurus,Datousaurus, Omeisaurus and Protognathosaurus, the ornithopod Xiaosaurus and the carnivorous Gasosaurus. It was found in Huayang in China.

Like other stegosaurians, Huayangosaurus was a quadrupedal herbivore with a small skull and a spiked tail. Like its more famous relative, Stegosaurus, Huayangosaurus bore the distinctive double row of plates that characterize all the stegosaurians. These plates rose vertically along its arched back. In Huayangosaurus, the plates were more spike-like than in Stegosaurus. Like Stegosaurus, however, it bore two pairs of long spikes extending horizontally near the end of its tail.

Huayangosaurus was one of the smallest known stegosaurians, at just 4.5 meters (15 feet) in length.

More Information

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Fact file

  • Pronounced: hoy-YANG-oh-SORE-us
  • Meaning of name: Huayang lizard
  • Length: 4.5m
  • Diet: herbivorous
  • When it lived: Mid Jurassic
    (170 – 160 million years ago)
  • Found in: Peoples Republic of China

Taxonomic details

  • Taxonomy: Dinosauria, Ornithischia, Genasauria, Thyreophora, Stegosauria, Huayangosauridae, Huayangosaurus
  • Named by: Dong, Tang and Zhou (1982)
  • Type species: taibaii