Bellusaurus (meaning "Beautiful lizard", from Vulgar Latin bellus 'beautiful' (masculine form) and Ancient Greek sauros 'lizard') was a small short-necked sauropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic which measured about 4.8 metres (16 ft) long. Its fossils were found in Shishugou Formation rocks in the northeastern Junggar Basin in China.[1]

Temporal range: Middle Jurassic, 170 Ma
Restored skeleton
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Clade: Sauropoda
Clade: Macronaria
Genus: Bellusaurus
Dong, 1990
B. sui
Binomial name
Bellusaurus sui
Dong, 1990

Discovery and naming

Esqueleto de Bellusaurus
Skeleton of Bellusaurus in the Museo de la Evolución de Puebla, México.

The type and only known species is Bellusaurus sui, formally described by Dong Zhiming in 1990. The remains of Bellusaurus were found in the Shishugou Formation in the northeastern Junggar Basin in China. Seventeen individuals were found in a single quarry, suggesting that a herd had been killed in a flash flood. Some features suggest they may have all been juveniles.[2] Bellusaurus sui was derived from the Latin bellus meaning small, delicate, and beautiful, as these sauropods were small and lightly built. The specific name, sui, was named in honor of Senior Preparator Youling Sui, a notable restorer of dinosaurs remains. Bellusaurus was the last restoration undertaken by Mr. Sui.[2]


Life restoration
Bellusaurus sui size
Size compared to a human

It is unknown if the material representing Bellusaurus is from juvenile specimens. Juvenile characteristics of dinosaurs have been noted by Galton in 1982 of stegosaur growth, whose study would suggest that the group of small Bellusaurus sauropods were juveniles that were subjected to a single catastrophe resulting in the mass death assemblage seen from this discovery.[3] Because of the uncertainty of the specimens age, it could be difficult to place the species into a specific taxonomic assignment due to having unstable morphological characteristics.[2]


  1. ^ Dong Zhiming (1992). Dinosaurian Faunas of China. China Ocean Press, Beijing. ISBN 3-540-52084-8.
  2. ^ a b c Dong, Z. M. (1990). "On remains of the Sauropods from Kelamaili region, Junggar Basin, Xinjiang, China" (PDF). Vertebrata PalAsiatica. 28 (1): 43–58.
  3. ^ Galton, P.M. (1982). "Juveniles of the stegosaurian dinosaur Stegosaurus from the Upper Jurassic of North America" (PDF). Jour. Vert. Paleo. (1 ed.) (2).

External links


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Shishugou Formation

The Shishugou Formation (simplified Chinese: 石树沟组; traditional Chinese: 石樹溝組; pinyin: Shíshùgōu Zǔ) is a geological formation in Xinjiang, China.

Its strata date back to the Late Jurassic period. Dinosaur remains are among the fossils that have been recovered from the formation (see Junggar Basin dinosaur trap). The Shishugou Formation is considered one of the most phylogenetically and trophically diverse Middle to Late Jurassic theropod fauna.The Wucaiwan Formation, once considered a separate, underlying formation, is now considered the lowest unit of the Shishugou Formation.


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Wucaiwan Formation

The Wucaiwan Formation is a geological formation in Asia. It dates back to the Middle Jurassic.


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