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Yizhousaurus, new early Chinese sauropod from complete skeleton



From: Ben Creisler
bh480@scn.org

In case this news story and abstract have not been 
mentioned yet:

http://news.discovery.com/dinosaurs/sauropod-dinosaurs-
skeleton.html
(with photo of complete skull)

This conference abstract is also posted online with 
permission to distribute:
http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2010AM/finalprogram/abstract_175
675.htm

CHATTERJEE, Sankar, WANG, T., PAN, S.G., DONG, Z., WU, 
X.C., and UPCHURCH, P. (2010)

A COMPLETE SKELETON OF A BASAL SAUROPOD DINOSAUR FROM THE 
EARLY JURASSIC OF CHINA AND THE ORIGIN OF SAUROPODA.
 
Sauropods were very successful group of herbivorous 
dinosaurs in terrestrial ecosystems, but their early 
evolution is poorly understood because of a highly 
incomplete fossil record. Characterizing the evolutionary 
history of early sauropods is central to understanding 
their rise and diversification in the Jurassic and 
Cretaceous. Here we report the discovery of a nearly 
complete and exquisitely preserved skeleton of a basal 
sauropod from the Lower Lufeng Formation (Early Jurassic) 
in Yunnan, China that fills a critical gap in the early 
evolution of sauropod dinosaurs. The new taxon, 
Yizhousaurus sunae gen. et sp. nov., is the most complete 
basal sauropod currently known with intact skull; it is 
an important transitional fossil documenting the 
evolution of sauropods from prosauropods. The skull of 
Yizhousaurus is particularly significant because basal 
sauropods are diagnosed solely on the basis of 
fragmentary postcranial material. The new material 
reveals a mosaic of plesiomorphic and derived features 
that clarify early sauropod evolution, increase our 
anatomical knowledge of basal sauropods, and shed new 
light on their patterns of early diversifications.