Named By: Ouyang - 1992.
Classification: Chordata Reptilia, Dinosauria, Ornithischia, Thyreophora, Stegosauria.
Species: G. sichuanensis (type).
Size: Around 4.2 meters long.
Known locations: China, Sichuan Province - Shaximiao Formation.
Time period: Oxfordian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Partial skeleton, possibly of a sub adult. Skull unknown.
a glance the name Gigantspinosaurus gives the
impression of an
oversized gargantuan Spinosaurus,
a particularly exciting but
frightening prospect when you consider what that dinosaur was. In
realty however Gigantspinosaurus actually a
stegosaur, perhaps the
farthest a dinosaur can get from being one of the spinosaurs.
The name Gigantspinosaurus is actually a reference to the huge shoulder spines that grown from the shoulder area, similar to some like Kentrosaurus but upon a larger scale. These spines are thought to have provided Gigantspinosaurus with additional defence from large theropod dinosaurs like Sinraptor, but the exaggerated size may have also served as a display function. The other plates and spines were small in comparison to other stegosaurs, and this seems to fit in with the notion that Gigantspinosaurus is one of the most basal stegosaurs known. Primitive forms are noted for having shoulder spines and small plates, while more advanced forms like Stegosaurus have better developed plates but lack shoulder spines.
Gigantspinosaurus is still sometimes credited as being a nomen nudum (naked name) and not representative of a specific genus, but this all stems back to an incomplete translation of the original Chinese description. Today, palaeontologists readily recognise Gigantspinosaurus as a basal stegosaur, and this dinosaur has been the subject of a lot of study since. The type species name G. sichuanensis means ‘from Sichuan’.