The unicorn dinosaur


  • Name: Tsintaosaurus
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Weight: 8 tons
  • Period: Cretaceous
  • Found In: China

Today we will talk about a dinosaur that is undoubtedly one of the most enigmatic, as it had an upright crest that made it look strange.

Read on to learn more about this dinosaur.


What does the name Tsintaosaurus mean?

The name, like all the dinosaurs discovered in China, takes its name from the place found, in this case from the city of Qingdao, which transliterated into the Latin alphabet is written as “Tsintao”.

Moreover, the specific name makes means “spiny nose”.

The term is composed of the Latin term “spina” which is understood as a spine and the Greek term ῥίς, rhis, which is understood as “nose”.

History of the Tsintaosaurus discovery

The first fossil remains of this hadrosaurus were discovered in Hsikou, an area very close to Chingkangkou. Located in East China.

Later it would be described by the paleontologist Yang Zhongjian in 1958, who gave it the name Tsintaosaurus spinorhinus.

As for the remains discovered, they were discovered in the well-known Jingangkou formation and consist of a skull and a partial skeleton.

In addition, it was possible to find a couple of other fossils consisting of a skull, some almost complete skeletons and some separate remains of skeletons.

Some of these discoveries were classified as Tsintaosaurus and others described as Tanius chingkankouensis.

Tsintaosaurus Classification

The Tsintaosaurus was classified in the subfamily of Lambeosaurinae, a family in which the dinosaurs Pararhabdodon and Koutalisaurus are also found.

In 2013 Albert Prieto-Márquez established that this was a hadrosaurid, closely related to the Pararhabdodon.

When did the Tsintaosaurus live?

This dinosaur lived in the late Cretaceous period, about 70 million years ago.

As for the place where he lived, it was mostly arid, with long dry seasons.

What did the Tsintaosaurus eat?

Like all hadrosaurid dinosaurs, this dinosaur was herbivorous. It fed on conifers and some soft vegetables.

Tsintaosaurus Characteristics

This dinosaur could reach an average length of 10 meters, in terms of its appearance this was very characteristic of the hadrosaurs, had a muzzle like a duck and were equipped with a good number of teeth that facilitated eating and vegetables.


It is presumed that his quadripedal walk, although like other dinosaurs in his family, he could move in a bipedal fashion either to reach some fruit more easily or simply to escape from danger more easily.

One of the most interesting features of this dinosaur is undoubtedly its comb-shaped head, which made it look like a unicorn.

First of all, it was thought that this comb was arranged horizontally with the skull, but then it could be seen that it was upright.

Its exact appearance today is still being discussed, hopefully, more fossils will be found that will allow us to know exactly what this dinosaur looked like.

The crest

The characteristic crest can measure up to 5 centimeters in length and is arranged vertically protruding from the skull.

This was hollow and its end was forked.

No other dinosaurs are known to have anything like this.

Although some paleontologists such as David Weishampel and Jack Hornerl, for example, in 1990, dared to suggest that this was not really a crest but a nasal extension that was originally in the inner part of the skull, but that with the fossil process was arranged in such a way.

However, in 1993 Eric Buffetaut, after a new study of the fossils of this dinosaur, left the statement made by Weishampel and Hornerl without foundation. In addition, another specimen was found with a vertically oriented ridge.

As for the function of the ridge, paleontologist Yang suggested that it could have been used to facilitate the air intake.

Although this idea would later be rejected by Prieto-Márquez and company, who established that this ridge was sealed.

Today, the function of the ridge has not been established, and we hope that later we will have more precise information about it.