Named By: C. C. Young - 1944.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Sauropterygiia, Plesiosauria, Pliosauria.
Species: S. weiyuanensis (type).
Known locations: China.
Time period: Aptian/Abian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Partial remains.
is a lot of confusion about the pliosaur
genus Sinopliosaurus, all stemming
from a misidentification of some spinosaurid
dinosaur teeth as those
belonging to a marine reptile. The first species of Sinopliosaurus,
S. weiyuanensis was established by C. C.
Young, and was
established as a pliosaur. Then in 1975 a second species was
added to the Sinopliosaurus genus as S.
fusuiensis, but only based
upon the description of teeth. Then in 2008 these teeth were
identified as actually belonging to a spinosaurid dinosaur, and not a
The problem with the teeth of ‘S’. fusuiensisis is that by themselves they are not distinct enough to name a new genus. In addition the teeth can no longer be named Sinopliosaurus, as this name is already occupied by the original fossil material of S. weiyuanensis, the pliosaur, and under international rules governing the naming of animals, no two animals may share the same name, even if they are different types of animal. ‘Sinopliosaurus’ fusuiensisis only exists with quotations and without italics to mark them out in a way to avoid further confusion. Despite this many writers have still credited Sinopliosaurus fusuiensis as a distinct genus of spinosaurid dinosaur, when it simply isn’t. For the record, the teeth credited as ‘Sinopliosaurus’ fusuiensisis are similar to those of another dubious genus of spinosaurid from Thailand, Siamosaurus.
- On the reptilian remains from Weiyuan, Szechuan, China. - Bulletin of the Geological Society of China 24(3–4):187-205 - C. C. Young - 1944.
- Fossil reptiles from Fusui, Kwangshi. - Vertebrata PalAsiatica 13(1):24-33 - L.-H. Hou, H.-K. Yeh & X.-J. Zhao - 1975.
- An Early Cretaceous spinosaur theropod from southern China. - Geological Magazine 145 (5): 745–748. - E. Buffetaut, V. Suteethorn, H. Tong & R. Amiot - 2008.