(Shark toothed dragon).
Named By: Stephen L. Brusatte et al. - 2009.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda, Carcharodontosauridae.
Species: S. maortuensis (type).
Size: Estimated between 5 and 6 meters long.
Known locations: China, Inner Mongolia - Ulansuhai Formation.
Time period: Turonian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Fragmentary skull fragments an axis vertebra and six caudal vertebra.
fragmentary nature of Shaochilong resulted in it
being included into
genus, a theropod dinosaur also from the
Ulansuhai Formation. However while fragmentary, the fossil remains
for C. maortuensis were much larger that the
estimated length of two
and a half meters for other Chilantaisaurus
material. Questions were
first raised about its validity in 2001, thirty seven years after
the initial description which placed the material within the
Chilantaisaurus genus. In 2009 Brusatte et
al. confirmed that
the material was actually of a carcharodontosaurid dinosaur, a very
significant discovery in itself as this was the first theropod of its
kind known from Asia.
The material was renamed Shaochilong which translates to English as ‘shark toothed dragon’, a reference to the shape of its teeth (the carcharodontisaurid group is so named after the Carcharodon shark genus which include the great white shark) combined with ‘long’, a term that is increasingly used refer to dinosaurs from Asia just as the ancient Greek ‘saurus’ is used to describe dinosaurs in the Western World. The species name S. maortuensis is derived from the original classification of the Shaochilong material Chilantaisaurus, something which is standard procedure when splitting a species from an established genus into its own new genus.
Even though Shaochilong and Chilantaisaurus are now in their own separate genera, they are still related to one another, kind of like distant cousins. Their presence in the same fossil Formation also indicates that they were probably active at the same time and location as one another.
- Carnosaurian remains from Alashan, Inner Mongolia. - Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 8: 42–63. - S. -Y. Hu - 1964.
- The first definitive carcharodontosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from Asia and the delayed ascent of tyrannosaurids. - Naturwissenschaften, 96(9): 1051-1058. - S. Brusatte, R. Benson, D. Chure, X. Xu, C. Sullivan & D. Hone - 2009.
- The osteology of Shaochilong maortuensis, a carcharodontosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Late Cretaceous of Asia. - Zootaxa 2334: 1–46. - S. L. Brusatte, D. J. Chure, R. B. J. Benson & X. Xu - 2010.