(Misty cloud lizard).
Named By: L. Xing, T. Miyashita, P. J Currie, H. You & Z. Dong - 2013.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Saurischia, Sauropoda, Eusauropoda.
Species: N. taito (type).
Size: Uncertain due to incomplete remains.
Known locations: China, Yunnan Province - Zhanghe Formation.
Time period: Aalenian/Bajocian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Braincase (the part of the skull that houses the brain).
based only upon the description of the braincase, it has been enough
to not only identify Nebulasaurus as a new eusauropod
also further hints that during the middle Jurassic Asia had a very
diverse range of sauropod dinosaurs. By the late Jurassic this
diverse range seems to have thinned out in favour of mamenchisaurid
sauropods (those similar to Mamenchisaurus).
The braincase of Nebulasaurus has been noted as showing a great similarity to another genus named Spinophorosaurus which is known from Africa. Spinophorosaurus is known by much more complete remains which include a set of short spikes that were situated on the end of the tail like the thagomizer of a stegosaur. This leads to the question, if Spinophorosaurus had a thagomizer, did Nebulasaurus have a thagomizer too? Unfortunately, unless a tail of Nebulasaurus is ever found, we simply can’t say for certain, but there was a another genus of sauropod living slightly later in the middle Jurassic than Nebulasaurus in China named Shunosaurus, that actually had a spiked tail club.
- A new basal eusauropod from the Middle Jurassic of Yunnan, China, and faunal compositions and transitions of Asian sauropodomorph dinosaurs - Acta Palaeontologica Polonica - L. Xing, T. Miyashita, P. J Currie, H. You & Z. Dong - 2013.