Named By: Ji Qiang, Lü Jun-Chang, Wei Xue-Fang & Wang Xu-Ri - 2012.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Theropoda, Oviraptorosauria.
Species: N. wangi (type).
Diet: Uncertain, but possible herbivore.
Known locations: China, Liaoning Province - Yixian Formation.
Time period: Aptian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Fairly well preserved remains of one individual. Feather impressions are also known.
the time of its description, Ningyuansaurus is
considered to be one
of the earliest known oviraptosaurs
to appear on the Mesozoic
landscape. So primitive is Ningyuansaurus, that
the skull it
proportionately longer than later oviraptosaurs, and still contains
teeth, ten in the upper jaw (four premaxilla, six maxilla),
and at least fourteen teeth in the lower jaw.
It has been notoriously difficult to determine what oviraptosaurs ate since they could have eaten either meat of plants, and even feasibly both. The teeth of Ningyuansaurus do not seem to have had any special adaptations, and they didn’t even have any serrations. They are tightly packed though which suggest a dietary specialisation of some kind. An insight though might be gleamed from the discovery of small oval shaped structures found within the holotype remains of Ningyuansaurus. With the largest of these only having a ten millimetre diameter, these may indicate that Ningyuansaurus might have included seeds in its diet.
- A new oviraptorosaur from the Yixian Formation of Jianchang, Western Liaoning Province, China. - Geological Bulletin of China 31 (12): 2102–2107 - Ji Qiang, Lü Jun-Chang, Wei Xue-Fang & Wang Xu-Ri - 2012.