Yinlong

Name: Yinlong ‭(‬Hidden dragon‭)‬.
Phonetic: Yin-long.
Named By: Xu Xing et al.‭ ‬-‭ ‬2006.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Marginocephalia,‭ ‬Ceratopsia.
Species: Y.‭ ‬downsi‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: 1.2‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: China,‭ ‬Xinjiang Province‭ ‬-‭ ‬Shishugou Formation.
Time period: Oxfordian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Single skeleton that is very well preserved.

       A very interesting find,‭ ‬Yinlong represents the earliest identifiable ceratopsian dinosaur.‭ ‬Despite its small size and bipedal stance,‭ ‬the descendants of Yinlong would evolve into the huge quadrupedal herbivores like Triceratops that lived at the end of the Cretaceous.
       Study of the skull has revealed a small rostral bone,‭ ‬or more commonly called‭ '‬beak‭' ‬that is indicative of the ceratopsian group.‭ ‬Squamosal ornamentation of the skull is also seen in the pachycephalosauria,‭ ‬further suggesting that they and the ceratopsian dinosaurs shared common direct ancestors.‭ ‬The skull also displays heterodontosaurid features further suggesting that the Marginocephalia are closely related to them.
       While the teeth of Yinlong are undoubtedly those of a herbivore,‭ ‬gastroliths were also found inside the skeleton roughly where the stomach would have been.‭ ‬Not only would these mash swallowed plant matter to release further nutrients,‭ ‬this practice would also be carried down into successive generations and species.
       Because Yinlong was discovered in Xinjiang Province,‭ ‬it was named‭ '‬Hidden Dragon‭' ‬in reference to the multi award winning film‭ '‬Crouching Tiger,‭ ‬Hidden Dragon‭' ‬large portions of which were filmed in Xinjiang.‭ ‬The species name is in remembrance to Will Downs,‭ ‬who was a frequent participant to Chinese expeditions.




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