Another representative of the extensive hadrosaur family, in this article we will talk about this interesting dinosaur discovered in Chinese lands
What does the name Shantungosaurus mean?
The name of this dinosaur refers to the place where it was found, exactly to the province of Shandong; the designation of the species derives from the Latin and means “giant”.
History of Shantungosaurus discovery
The first fossil remains of this dinosaur were found in 1964.
Later, excavations were carried out in 1965, 1966 and 1968 and 5 complete skeletons were recovered.
The most complete of them is currently on display at the Beijing Natural History Museum.
All these fossils were excavated in a single quarry.
In total, the fossil remains of at least five specimens were found, including partially preserved skulls and parts of the post-cranial skeleton.
The Shantungosaurus was described by Hu Chengzhi in 1973.
To be exact the only species described is the Shantungosaurus giganteus. As for the other species, after a later analysis it was found that they were fossils of this same species in another growth stage.
The Shantungosaurus together with the North American Edmontosaurus and the Lambeosaurus; were the largest Hadrosaurs and ornithopods that existed.
It is part of the Hadrosauridae or duck-billed dinosaurs.
It is the largest child in the family, only the iguanodon and the Lanzhousaurus surpassed it in size.
Like most of them, he had to live in the days of Tyrannosaurus rex (but did not live in the same place as him).
His two natural predators were Tarbosaurus and Velociraptor.
When did the Shantungosaurus live?
It lived at the end of the Cretaceous 80-66 million years ago and was discovered in China.
What did the Shantungosaurus eat?
Shantungosaurus is a hadrosaur herbivorous dinosaur, it fed on plants that were high in the trees.
Its weight was a means of defence, it could crush some of its predators.
It also defended itself with its tail, which it used to beat predators, and which helped it keep its balance when running and even used it to swim if it was forced to.
Considered one of the largest hadrosaurs known.
It had a flat beak, a 1-meter-long head, a 7.5-meter-long tail, powerful hind legs, and more than 1500 teeth.
Shantungosaurus was probably a good swimmer and a great runner (running at 30 km/h).
Shantungosaurus was both bipedal and quadrupedal.
The estimated weight according to the fossils found is 16 tons and it was stigmatized that it could reach a length of approximately 15 meters.
Shantungosaurus had a very long tail, more than half of its body length was tail.
It also helped him to keep his body in balance when walking on his two legs.
Like the other Hadrosaurs, the tail was high and flattened from the sides.
This led paleontologists to initially think that hadrosaurs spent much of their time in the water and used their tails for swimming.
But the tail was too rigid to serve as a flipper because the vertebrae of the tail were connected by tendons.
In addition, the tips of the tail vertebrae were directed backwards, while in aquatic animals these were raised and served as attachment points for the swimming muscles.