Gongxianosaurus is a genus of basal sauropod dinosaur from the early Jurassic Period (Toarcian stage). The only species is Gongxianosaurus shibeiensis. Based on four fragmentary to complete specimens found in China (Sichuan Province), it is one of the most completely known early sauropods. The skeleton is known in large part, missing both the hand and the majority of the skull. Gongxianosaurus was firstly named and described in a short note published in 1998; however, a comprehensive description has yet to be published. Gongxianosaurus shibeiensis was named for the place it was found, near the village Shibei in Gong County (珙县; Pinyin: Gǒng Xiàn).
He et al., 1998
Gongxianosaurus may have reached 14 metres (46 ft) in length. Like other sauropods, it moved quadrupedally (on four legs), as indicated by the elongated fore limbs that reached 70 to 75% of hind limb length. The pedal phalanges were short and robust, as typical for sauropods. The pedal phalangeal formula, counting the number of phalanges for each digit starting from the innermost, was 2-3-4-5-1. All but the outermost digit ended in claws. Unlike in other sauropods, pleurocoels (deep lateral excavations of the vertebrae) were absent; thus, the vertebrae would have been quite massive. The sacrum was made of three fused sacral vertebrae, fewer than in later sauropods. The chevrons were unbifurcated.
An important characteristic of sauropod limbs is their reduced ossification – the tendency to replace bone by cartilage. Gongxianosaurus is the only known sauropod with ossified distal tarsals. Thus, either Gongxianosaurus was one of the basalmost sauropods, or ossified distal tarsals were present in other early sauropods but are simply not preserved due to the fragmentation of the specimens.
Because the fossils are not fully described yet, available character information that can be used in cladistic analyses is limited. Thus, only few cladistical analyses have incorporated Gongxianosaurus. A recent analysis by Apaldetti et al. (2011) suggests that Gongxianosaurus was more basal than Vulcanodon, Tazoudasaurus and Isanosaurus, but more derived than the early sauropods Antetonitrus, Lessemsaurus, Blikanasaurus, Camelotia and Melanorosaurus.
Gongxianosaurus fossils were found near the village of Shibei (Sichuan province) in purple mudstones pertaining to the Ziliujing Formation (Dongyueshan Member), a subunit of the Dashanpu Formation. These rocks are considered to be Toarcian in age (182.7 to 174.1 mya). Thus, Gongxianosaurus is geologically younger than the "prosauropod" Lufengosaurus but older than the basal sauropod Shunosaurus.
The fossils were found in May 1997 during a geological exploration. Excavation started in the same month and led to the recovery of a wealth of fossils in an area of approximately 200 square meters. While most fossils pertain to a new sauropod genus, remains of theropods have also been found. The sauropod material includes four fragmentary to complete individuals similar in size, together encompassing most of the skeleton, though hand and skull bones were not found except a premaxilla and teeth. In 1998, the sauropod material was briefly described as a new genus and species, Gongxianosaurus shibeiensis, in a preliminary note by palaeontologists led by He Xinlu. A more detailed description was announced, noting that excavation was still in progress while the paper was published. In 2000, a second short description was published by Luo Yaonan and Wang Changsheng, also presenting Gongxianosaurus as a new sauropod and without mentioning the first description that was published two years before. Also, much of the information published by Luo and Wang was already published by He and colleagues.
Antetonitrus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur found in Early Jurassic rocks in South Africa. The only species is Antetonitrus ingenipes. As one of the oldest known sauropods, it is crucial for the understanding of the origin and early evolution of this group. It was a quadrupedal herbivore, like all of its later relatives, but shows primitive adaptations to use the forelimbs for grasping, instead of purely for weight support.Blikanasaurus
Blikanasaurus cromptoni is a genus of sauropodomorph dinosaur from the late Triassic of South Africa. The generic name Blikanasaurus is derived from Greek, meaning “lizard from Blikana.” The species name cromptoni is taken from the surname of A.W. “Fuzz” Crompton, an American paleontologist who led numerous field expeditions in Elliot Formation outcrop localities in South Africa. Blikanasaurus is only known from partial hindlimb bones that were recovered from the lower Elliot Formation (LEF) in the Eastern Cape.Daxiatitan
Daxiatitan is a genus of titanosaur dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of Lanzhou Basin, Gansu Province, northwestern China. It is known from fossils including several neck vertebrae, a shoulder blade, and a thigh bone.It was a very large dinosaur, estimated at 23–30 meters (75–98 feet). Like both Euhelopus and Huanghetitan, it had an enormously long neck.Diplodocinae
Diplodocinae is an extinct subfamily of diplodocid sauropods that existed from the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous of North America, Europe and South America, about 161.2 to 136.4 million years ago. Genera within the subfamily include Tornieria, Supersaurus, Leinkupal, Galeamopus, Diplodocus, Kaatedocus and Barosaurus.Cladogram of the Diplodocidae after Tschopp, Mateus, and Benson (2015).Ferganasaurus
Ferganasaurus was a genus of dinosaur first formally described in 2003 by Alifanov and Averianov. The type species is Ferganasaurus verzilini. It was a sauropod similar to Rhoetosaurus. The fossils were discovered in 1966 in Kyrgyzstan from the Balabansai Formation and date to the Callovian stage of the Middle Jurassic.Flagellicaudata
Flagellicaudata is a clade of Dinosauria. It belongs to Sauropoda and includes two families, the Dicraeosauridae and the Diplodocidae.Gravisauria
Gravisauria is a clade of sauropod dinosaurs consisting of some genera, Vulcanodontidae and Eusauropoda.Huangshanlong
Huangshanlong is a genus of mamenchisaurid dinosaurs native to the Anhui province of China. It contains a single species, Huangshanlong anhuiensis. H. anhuiensis represents, along with Anhuilong and Wannanosaurus, one of three dinosaurs fround in Anhui province.Jiutaisaurus
Jiutaisaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Quantou Formation of China. Jiutaisaurus was a sauropod which lived during the Cretaceous. The type species, Jiutaisaurus xidiensis, was described by Wu et al. in 2006, and is based on eighteen vertebrae.Kaijutitan
Kaijutitan (meaning "Kaiju titan" after the type of Japanese movie monsters) is a genus of basal titanosaur dinosaur from the Sierra Barrosa Formation from Neuquén Province in Argentina. The type and only species is Kaijutitan maui.Ledumahadi
Ledumahadi (meaning "a giant thunderclap" in Sesotho language) is a genus of lessemsaurid sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Early Jurassic Elliot Formation in Free State Province, South Africa. The type and only species is L. mafube, known from a singular incomplete postcranial specimen. A quadruped, it was one of the first giant sauropodomorphs, reaching a weight of around 12 tonnes (26,000 lb), despite not having evolved columnar limbs like its later huge relatives.Oceanotitan
Oceanotitan is a genus of titanosauriform sauropod known from the Upper Jurassic Praia da Amoreira-Porto Novo Formation of Portugal. It contains one species, Oceanotitan dantasi.The holotype consists of the scapula, almost all of the pelvis, a complete leg sans the toes, and nine caudals.Pilmatueia
Pilmatueia is a diplodocoid sauropod belonging to the family Dicraeosauridae that lived in Argentina during the Early Cretaceous.Shunosaurus
Shunosaurus, meaning "shu lizard", is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from Early Jurassic (Oxfordian) beds in Sichuan Province in China, approximately 159±2 million years ago. The name derives from "Shu", an ancient name for the Sichuan province.Tambatitanis
Tambatitanis is an extinct genus of titanosauriform dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous (probably early Albian) of Japan. It is known from a single type species, Tambatitanis amicitiae. It was probably around 14 meters long and its mass was estimated at some 4 tonnes. It was a basal titanosauriform and possibly belonged to the Euhelopodidae.Tengrisaurus
Tengrisaurus (meaning "Tengri lizard") is a genus of lithostrotian sauropod, from the Early Cretaceous (Barremian-Aptian), of the Murtoi Formation, Russia. It was described in 2017 by Averianov & Skutschas. The type species is T. starkovi.Vulcanodontidae
The Early Jurassic sauropod dinosaurs Zizhongosaurus, Barapasaurus, Tazoudasaurus, and Vulcanodon may form a natural group of basal sauropods called the Vulcanodontidae. Basal vulcanodonts include some of the earliest known examples of sauropods. The family-level name Vulcanodontidae was erected by M.R. Cooper in 1984. In 1995 Hunt et al. published the opinion that the family is synonymous with the Barapasauridae. One of the key morphological features specific to the family is an unusually narrow sacrum.