Yunnanosaurus is an extinct genus of sauropodomorph dinosaur that lived approximately 201 to 168 million years ago in what is now the Yunnan Province, in China. Yunnanosaurus was a large sized, moderately-built, ground-dwelling, quadrupedal herbivore, that could also walkbipedally, and ranged in size from 7 meters (23 feet) long and 2 m (6.5 ft) high to 13 m (42 ft) long in the largest species.
There were more than sixty spoon shaped teeth in the jaws of Yunnanosaurus, and were unique among early sauropodomorphs in that its teeth were self-sharpening because they “[wore] against each other as the animal fed.” Scientists consider these teeth to be advanced compared to other early sauropodomorphs, as they share features with the sauropods. However, scientists do not consider Yunnanosaurus to be especially close to the sauropods in phylogeny because the remaining portions of the animals body are distinctly “prosauropod” in design. This critical difference implies that the similarity in dentition between Yunnanosaurus and sauropods might be an example of convergent evolution.
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- Pronounced: yoo-nahn-oh-sore-us
- Meaning of name: Yunnan lizard
- Length: 7m
- Diet: omnivorous
- When it lived: Early Jurassic
(205 – 190 million years ago)
- Found in: Peoples Republic of China
- Taxonomy: Dinosauria, Saurischia, Sauropodomorpha, Prosauropoda, Plateosauria, Yunnanosaurus
- Named by: Young (1942)
- Type species: huangi