Lingwulong

Lingwulong is a genus of dicraeosaurid sauropod dinosaur from the Early or Middle Jurassic Yanan Formation in Lingwu, Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui, China. The type and only species is L. shenqi, known from several partial skeletons. It is the earliest-aged neosauropod ever discovered, as well as the only definite diplodocoid from east Asia. Its exact age is uncertain, but it lived between the late Toarcian and Bajocian ages, with an midpoint estimate age of 174 Ma.[1]

Lingwulong
Temporal range:
Late Toarcian-Bajocian
~174 Ma
Skeletal reconstruction and exemplar skeletal remains of Lingwulong shenqi
Skeletal reconstruction and exemplar skeletal remains of L. shenqi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Sauropodomorpha
Clade: Sauropoda
Family: Dicraeosauridae
Genus: Lingwulong
Xu et al., 2018
Species:
L. shenqi
Binomial name
Lingwulong shenqi
Xu et al., 2018

Discovery

Lingwulong
Life restoration of Lingwulong shenqi

In 2004, sheep herder Ma Yun found dinosaur bones, notifying local administrators Yang Huozhu and Liu Hongan. In the spring of 2005 these showed the fossils to dinosaur expert Xu Xing who sent out a team to investigate the find. From 2005 onwards several quarries ware excavated at Ciyaopu, near Lingwu, in Ningxia Hui. The remains were discovered of about seven to ten sauropod skeletons. The excavations and the subsequent preparation were carried out by Wang Haijun, Xiang Lishi, He Sicai, Cao Renfang, Tang Zhilu and Tao Yu.[1]

In 2018, Xu Xing, Paul Upchurch, Philip D. Mannion, Paul M. Barrett, Omar R. Regalado-Fernandez, Mo Jinyou, Ma Jinfu and Liu Hongan named and described the type species Lingwulong shenqi. The generic name combines a reference to Lingwu with the Mandarin long, "dragon". The specific name means "amazing" in Mandarin, reflecting the unexpected appearance of a member of the Dicraeosauridae in East Asia, a group never before identified in the region.[1]

The holotype, LM V001a, was found in a layer of the Yanan Formation dating from the Toarcian-Bajocian, very roughly about 174 million years old. It consists of the rear of a skull associated with a series of dentary teeth found in their original position. It is part of the collection of the Lingwu Museum. The paratype, LGP V001b, is a partial skeleton lacking the skull. It contains the rear vertebrae of the back, the sacrum, the pelvis, the first tail vertebra and elements of the right hindlimb. Paratype and holotype possibly represent a single individual. The paratype is displayed in the Lingwu Geopark.[1]

Several specimens have been referred to the species. IVPP V23704 is a series of twenty-nine dentary teeth. LGP V002 is a partial skeleton including vertebrae of the back and tail, the shoulder girdle, and elements of the forelimbs and pelvis. LGP V003 is a partial skeleton containing a series of vertebrae including dorsals, sacrals and the first two caudals, and both ilia. LGP V004 consists of a front neck vertebra, a front back vertebra and a right shinbone of a small individual. LGP V005 is a partial skeleton containing the sacrum, the pelvis and a series of twenty-five front and middle tail vertebrae. LGP V006 contains neck vertebrae, the shoulder girdle and forelimb elements. Additionally numerous disarticulated bones from the quarries were referred.[1]

Description

Lingwulong size diagram
Size diagram of Lingwulong shenqi

Lingwulong's remains belong to 7–10 individuals at different ontogenetic stages, and even include skull bones. Overall, nearly the whole skeletal anatomy is known.[1]

Autapomorphies (unique traits) that distinguish Lingwulong from other diplodocoids include highly elaborated ornamentation along the upper margin of the orbital area, occipital condyle with transversely wide articular surface and anterior dorsal vertebrae with slightly twisted metapophyses presenting a sub-circular pseudofacet on their tip.[1]

Some traits, such as morphology of cervical vertebrae metapophyses look intermediate between the derived dicraeosaurids condition and the plesiomorphic condition spread among flagellicaudatans. Unlike most other diplodocoids, which have square-shaped snouts in dorsal view, Lingwulong had a U-shaped snout.[1]

Classification

Cranial material of Lingwulong shenqi
Cranial material

Simplified cladogram of Flagellicaudata after Xu and colleagues (2018) is shown below:[1]

Flagellicaudata 

Diplodocidae

Dicraeosauridae 

Suuwassea

Lingwulong

Amargasaurus

Brachytrachelopan

Dicraeosaurus

Paleobiogeography

Diplodocoids were long thought to have been absent from East Asia due to the presence of the Turgai Sea, and the East Asian Isolation Hypothesis was used to explain the presence of mamenchisaurids in East Asia but not elsewhere in the world. The discovery of Lingwulong casts doubt on these paleobiogeographical assumptions by showing that diplodocoids were present in East Asia early in the Jurassic.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Xing Xu; Paul Upchurch; Philip D. Mannion; Paul M. Barrett; Omar R. Regalado-Fernandez; Jinyou Mo; Jinfu Ma; Hongan Liu (2018). "A new Middle Jurassic diplodocoid suggests an earlier dispersal and diversification of sauropod dinosaurs". Nature Communications. 9 (1): Article number 2700. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-05128-1. PMC 6057878. PMID 30042444.
Bajadasaurus

Bajadasaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous epoch (late Berriasian to Valanginian stages) of northern Patagonia, Argentina. It was first described in 2019 based on a single specimen found in 2010 that includes a largely complete skull and parts of the neck. The only species is Bajadasaurus pronuspinax. The genus is classified as a member of the Dicraeosauridae, a group of comparatively small and short-necked sauropods that lived from the Early or Middle Jurassic to the end of the Early Cretaceous.

Bajadasaurus sported bifurcated, extremely elongated neural spines extending from the neck vertebrae. Similar elongated spines are known from the closely related and more completely known Amargasaurus. Various possible functions have been proposed for these spines in Amargasaurus, with the 2019 description of Bajadasaurus suggesting that they could have served as passive defense against predators in both genera. The skull was gracile and equipped with around 44 teeth that were pencil-shaped and restricted to the front of the jaws. The eye openings of Bajadasaurus were exposed in top view of the skull, possibly allowing the animal to look forwards while feeding. Bajadasaurus was discovered in sedimentary rocks of the Bajada Colorada Formation, and its environment resembled a braided river system. It shared its environment with other dinosaurs including the sauropod Leinkupal and different theropods.

Brasilotitan

Brasilotitan is a genus of titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous (early Maastrichtian) Adamantina Formation of Brazil. The type species is Brasilotitan nemophagus.

Cetiosauridae

Cetiosauridae is a family of sauropod dinosaurs. While traditionally a wastebasket taxon containing various unrelated species, some recent studies have found that it may represent a natural clade. Additionally, at least one study has suggested that the mamenchisaurids may represent a sub-group of the cetiosaurids, which would be termed Mamenchisaurinae.

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.

Lingwu

Lingwu (simplified Chinese: 灵武市; traditional Chinese: 靈武市; pinyin: Língwǔ Shì) is a county-level city of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Southwest China, it is under the administration of the prefecture-level city of Yinchuan. It is the most important industrial city of Ningxia.

Microcoelus

Microcoelus is a dubius genus of small Titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur native to Argentina. It is known from only a single dorsal vertebra. A left humerus was formerly referred to this species, but it is now considered to belong to Neuquensaurus. This species may be a synonym of the contemporary sauropod Neuquensaurus australis.It was described by British paleontologist Richard Lydekker in 1893.

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.

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.

Tastavinsaurus

Tastavinsaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur belonging to the Titanosauriformes. It is based on a partial skeleton from the Early Cretaceous of Spain. The type species is Tastavinsaurus sanzi, named in honor of the Rio Tastavins in Spain and Spanish paleontologist José Luis Sanz.

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.

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