Name: Tianyulong ‭(‬Tianyu dragon‭ ‬-‭ ‬after the Tianyu Museum of Nature‭)‬.
Phonetic: Te-an-yu-long.
Named By: Zheng,‭ ‬Xiao-Ting,‭ ‬You,‭ ‬Hai-Lu‭; ‬Xu,‭ ‬Xing‭ & ‬Dong,‭ ‬Zhi-Ming‭ ‬-‭ ‬2009.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Sinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Heterodontosauridae.
Species: T.‭ ‬confuciusi‭ (‬type‭)‬.‭
Diet: Herbivore/Omniovore‭?
Size: About‭ ‬70‭ ‬centimetres long.
Known locations: China,‭ ‬Liaoning Province‭ ‬-‭ ‬Tiaojishan‭ ‬Formation.
Time period: Oxfordian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Partial skull and mandible with partial post cranial remains.‭

       Perhaps the most note worthy things about Tianyulong is the presence of a row of large filament structures about‭ ‬6‭ ‬centimetres tall and believed to have been protofeathers that ran along the neck and back.‭ ‬These were likely for display,‭ ‬but here the function of the feathers is not as important as the actual presence.‭ ‬Tianyulong was a heterodontosaurid,‭ ‬and therefore descendent of earlier heterodontosaurs such as Heterodontosaurus.‭ ‬The key important thing here is that these dinosaurs were ornithischian,‭ ‬or‭ ‘‬bird hipped‭’ ‬dinosaurs,‭ ‬and primitive feathers were once believed to have been exclusive to the theropod saurischian,‭ ‬or‭ ‘‬lizard-hipped‭’ ‬dinosaurs.‭ ‬The primitive hair-like feathers mean one of two things.‭ ‬Either feathers evolved independently in both lines,‭ ‬or the primitive feathers of dinosaurs have their origin to the earliest days of dinosaur evolution or perhaps even before.
       Aside from the feathers,‭ ‬Tianyulong was the first heterodontosaurid to be discovered in Asia,‭ ‬with the type genus Heterodontosaurus being known from South Africa‭ (‬and possibly the Americas‭) ‬and other genera such‭ ‬as‭ ‬Fruitadens living in North America.‭ ‬Additional remains‭ ‬of possible heterodontosaurids may also come from the early Cretaceous of England.‭ ‬Like its relatives,‭ ‬Tianyulong had a mixed collection of teeth including the large tusks in the front of the mouth.‭ ‬Tianyulong is believed to have been primarily herbivorous,‭ ‬yet the mix of teeth meant that they were also capable of processing meat,‭ ‬meaning that Tianyulong were possibly omnivorous.

Further reading
-‭ ‬An Early Cretaceous heterodontosaurid dinosaur with filamentous integumentary structures‭ ‬-‭ ‬Zheng,‭ ‬Xiao-Ting,‭ ‬You,‭ ‬Hai-Lu‭; ‬Xu,‭ ‬Xing‭ & ‬Dong,‭ ‬Zhi-Ming‭ ‬-‭ ‬19th March,‭ ‬2009.
-‭ ‬Timing of the earliest known feathered dinosaurs and transitional pterosaurs older than the Jehol Biota.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Liu Y.-Q.‭ ‬Kuang H.-W.,‭ ‬Jiang X.-J.,‭ ‬Peng N.,‭ ‬Xu H.‭ & ‬Sun H.-Y.‭ ‬-‭ ‬2012.


Random favourites