A new sauropodiform dinosaur with a ‘sauropodan’ skull from the Lower Jurassic Lufeng Formation of Yunnan Province, China

Qian Nan Zhang, Hai Lu You, Tao Wang, Sankar Chatterjee

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9 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Early Jurassic Lufeng Formation of Yunnan Province in southwestern China is one of the best fossil localities in the world for understanding the early radiation of sauropodomorph dinosaurs. It has yielded a rich assemblage of complete and three-dimensionally preserved skeletons of herbivorous dinosaurs that provide crucial morphological information for systematic and evolutionary studies. Here we describe a new taxon, Yizhousaurus sunae gen. et sp. nov., represented by a nearly complete skeleton with an exquisitely preserved skull and mandible. Yizhousaurus is distinguished from other non-sauropodan sauropodomorphs by a unique combination of plesiomorphic and apomorphic features, which increases our understanding of the anatomical variation on the relatively conservative ‘prosauropod’ cranial plan. Phylogenetic analysis resolves Yizhousaurus as a sauropodiform, showcasing a mosaic character suite combining plesiomorphic states in the postcranial skeleton with some more ‘sauropodan’-like features in the skull. Furthermore, Yizhousaurus is placed closer to the base of Sauropoda than other non-sauropodan sauropodomorphs currently known from the Lufeng Formation, adding another taxon to enrich the Lower Jurassic Lufeng dinosaur fauna.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13464
JournalScientific reports
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

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