Shantungosaurus

Name: Shantungosaurus ‭(‬Shantung lizard‭)‬.
Phonetic: Shan-tung-o-sore-us.
Named By: Hu‭ ‬-‭ ‬1973.
Synonyms: Zhuchengosaurus maximus.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Ornithopoda,‭ ‬Hadrosauridae,‭ ‬Saurolophinae.
Species: S.‭ ‬giganteus‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Largest individuals approaching up to 15 meters long.
Known locations: China‭ ‬-‭ ‬Shandong Peninsula‭ ‬-‭ ‬Wangshi Formation.
Time period: Late Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial remains of many individuals allowing for composite reconstructions.

       When remains of Shantungosaurus were first found they were found in a bone bed of at least five individual dinosaurs.‭ ‬Though none of these were of a complete skeleton,‭ ‬composites of incorporating the bones of more than one individual have been assembled with the largest producing a hadrosaurid dinosaur just over sixteen and a half meters long,‭ ‬possibly weighing up to sixteen tonnes.‭ ‬To put this in perspective,‭ ‬this currently makes Shantungosaurus the largest known hadrosaurid dinosaur,‭ ‬even larger than other well-known large hadrosaurs such as Edmontosaurus and Magnapaulia.‭ ‬Edmontosaurus in particular is actually considered to be a very close relative of Shantungosaurus with the two genera sharing many features.
       Shantungosaurus is also considered to be the largest ornithischian‭ (‬bird hipped‭) ‬dinosaur,‭ ‬and when compared to the saurischian‭ ‬(lizard hipped‭) ‬dinosaurs,‭ ‬probably the largest non-sauropod dinosaur to boot.‭ ‬Other rivals to this claim such as Spinosaurus which has an upper length estimate slightly longer than Shantungosaurus,‭ ‬though possibly not as‭ ‬heavy.‭ ‬Usually weight is the determining factor when deciding which animal is the bigger.
       Despite the immense size,‭ ‬Shantungosaurus seems to have lived just like other hadrosaurs.‭ ‬There is no distinct crest on top of the skull which confirms the identification of Shantungosaurus as a saurolophine hadrosaurid.‭ ‬Shantungosaurus does however possess a large nasal opening,‭ ‬raising the consideration that an enlarged growth of soft tissue may have been present in living examples.‭ ‬At the back of the mouth one and a half thousand small teeth processed plant matter so it was mashed to a pulp for efficient digesting.
       The obvious question concerning Shantungosaurus is why did it grow so big‭? ‬The short answer is we just don’t know,‭ ‬though certain groups of animals often display a trend where successive genera get larger and larger,‭ ‬especially when driven by survival factors such as a changing climate or the appearance of larger and more dangerous predators.‭ ‬What we can say is that Shantungosaurus is not the only unusually large dinosaur to be found in late Cretaceous Asia with another example being Gigantoraptor,‭ ‬a particularly large oviraptorid dinosaur.

Further reading
-‭ [‬A new hadrosaur from the Cretaceous of Chucheng,‭ ‬Shantung‭]‬,‭ ‬C.-C.‭ ‬Hu‭ ‬-‭ ‬1973.
-‭ ‬Zhuchengosaurus maximus from Shandong Province,‭ ‬X.‭ ‬Zhao,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬Li,‭ ‬G.‭ ‬Han,‭ ‬H.‭ ‬Hao,‭ ‬F.‭ ‬Liu,‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Li and X.‭ ‬Fang‭ ‬-‭ ‬2007.
-‭ ‬Systematics,‭ ‬behavior and living environment of Shantungosaurus giganteus‭ (‬Dinosauria:‭ ‬Hadrosauridae‭)‬,‭ ‬Y.‭ ‬Ji,‭ ‬X.‭ ‬Wang,‭ ‬Y.‭ ‬Liu‭ & ‬Q.‭ ‬Ji‭ ‬-‭ ‬2011.



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