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Temporal range: Middle-Late Jurassic, 166–161  Ma
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Ornithischia
Clade: Thyreophora
Suborder: Ankylosauria
Genus: Tianchisaurus
Dong, 1993
Type species
Tianchisaurus nedegoapeferima
Dong, 1993
  • Sanghongesaurus Zhao, 1983

Tianchisaurus (meaning "heavenly pool lizard"), also invalidly called Tianchiasaurus and "Jurassosaurus", is a genus of ankylosaurian dinosaur from the Middle-Late Jurassic (Bathonian Oxfordian)-aged Toutunhe Formation of China. If it actually belongs to the family Ankylosauridae as proposed by Dong Zhiming, it would be the second earliest member of that family, being slightly younger than Spicomellus . Unlike other ankylosaurids, it lacked a bony club at the tip of its tail.


Discovery and naming

The holotype (IVPP V. 10614), discovered in 1974, consists of skull fragments, five cervicals, six dorsals, seven sacrals, and three caudals, limb fragments, scutes and some unidentifiable fragments. [1] [2]

The type specimen was informally referred to as "Jurassosaurus" after the 1993 film Jurassic Park , and the species epithet nedegoapeferima is formed from the surnames of the film's main stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, Ariana Richards, and Joseph Mazzello. [1] Director Steven Spielberg, who has funded Chinese dinosaur research, proposed the name. Dong Zhiming ultimately discarded the genus name "Jurassosaurus" (which is now a nomen nudum ) in favor of Tianchisaurus, but retained the species name honoring the actors. The description paper uses the spellings Tianchiasaurus and Tianchisaurus interchangeably, but is spelled with the extra "a" in the section naming it as a new genus. In 1994, Dong published an erratum stating that Tianchisaurus is the correct name. [3]

Sanghongesaurus, described by Zhao Xijin (1983), [4] is sometimes referred to as a basal ornithischian or a synonym of Tianchisaurus. [5]

Tianchisaurus was likely related to the only other known ankylosaurians alive at the same time during the Middle Jurassic, Sarcolestes and Spicomellus . [6]

See also

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  1. 1 2 Dong, Z. (1993). "An ankylosaur (ornithischian dinosaur) from the Middle Jurassic of the Junggar Basin, China." Vertebrata PalAsiatica 31:258-264.
  2. Atkinson, L. "TIANCHIASAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive". ‹http://www.dinochecker.com/dinosaurs/TIANCHIASAURUS›. Web access: 06th Aug 2020.
  3. Dong Zhiming (1994). "Erratum". Vertebrata PalAsiatica. 32: 142.
  4. Xijin, Zhao. (1983). Phylogeny and evolutionary stages of Dinosauria. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 28(1-2):295-306
  5. Carpenter, K. (2001). Phylogenetic analysis of the Ankylosauria. In K. Carpenter (ed.), The Armored Dinosaurs. Indiana University Press, Bloomington 455-483
  6. Maidment, Susannah C. R.; Strachan, Sarah J.; Ouarhache, Driss; Scheyer, Torsten M.; Brown, Emily E.; Fernandez, Vincent; Johanson, Zerina; Raven, Thomas J.; Barrett, Paul M. (2021-09-23). "Bizarre dermal armour suggests the first African ankylosaur". Nature Ecology & Evolution. 5 (12): 1576–1581. doi:10.1038/s41559-021-01553-6. ISSN   2397-334X. PMID   34556830. S2CID   237616095.