Shaochilong

Name: Shaochilong ‭(‬Shark toothed dragon‭)‬.
Phonetic: Sh-ow-chi-long.
Named By: Stephen L.‭ ‬Brusatte et al.‭ ‬-‭ ‬2009.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia,‭ ‬Theropoda,‭ ‬Carcharodontosauridae.
Species: S.‭ ‬maortuensis‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Carnivore.
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.‭

       The fragmentary nature of Shaochilong resulted in it being included into the Chilantaisaurus 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.

Further reading
- 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.



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