File:Art impression of Sinosaurus triassicus.png

Sinosaurus Illustration. Artist: Xing Lida

Sinosaurus is a 5.6 meters long dilophosaurid from Early Jurassic China, 199 to 196 mya. It lived in China along another possible dilophosaurid, Lukosaurus.


Sinosaurus is thought be a generalist, that ate wide variety of prey items, such as fish as well as meat, much like Dilophosaurus itself. Sinosaurus is interpreted to be more of a predator. It may possibly preyed upon the possible ankylosaur Bienosaurus, the scutellosaurid Tatisaurus, the prosauropods Lufengosaurus and the sauropods Kunmingosaurus and therapsids.

File:Restoration of Sinosaurus eating a Yunnanosaurus.png

Sinosaurus scavenging a Yunnanosaurus carcass. Art by ДиБгд

The skull of Sinosaurus has a deep notch between the premaxilla and maxilla. Dong (2003) proposed that the notch was used to house jaw muscles, giving Sinosaurus a powerful bite. Based on the estimated power of its jaws, Sinosaurus might have either been a carnivore or a scavenger. Dong suspected that the premaxilla was covered in a narrow, hooked beak, that was used to rip open skin and abdominal flesh. He also thought that the crest would have been used to hold open the abdominal cavity while feeding. Dong studied the feet of Sinosaurus as well, finding a resemblance with the feet of modern vultures. The feet of Sinosaurus were probably adapted to help it feed on large-bodied animals, such as prosauropods.

A study by Xing et al. (2013) examined the effect of the traumatic loss of teeth on the dental alveolus (the socket in the jaw where the roots of teeth are held) in dinosaurs. Sinosaurus is the first dinosaur where remodeling of the alveolus in the jaw was observed. The authors concluded that this finding "contributes to mounting evidence suggesting theropods were highly resilient to a broad spectrum of traumas and diseases.


The composite term Sinosaurus comes from Sinae, the Latin word for the Chinese, and the Greek word sauros (σαυρος) meaning "lizard"; thus "Chinese lizard". The specific name, triassicus, refers to the Triassic, the period that the fossils were originally thought to date from. Sinosaurus was described and named by Chung Chien Young, who is known as the 'Father of Chinese Vertebrate Paleontology', in 1940.

According to Carrano et al. (2012) D. sinensis, now considered to be at least congeneric with Sinosaurus triassicus, can be distinguished based on the fact that a vertical groove is present on the lateral premaxilla adjacent to contact with the maxilla.  Sinosaurus is the only "dilophosaurid" known from a complete braincase. Cryolophosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Zupaysaurus, and Coelophysis kayentakatae are all known from partial braincases.

Two partial braincases were found before 2012, and are probably mostly complete, except that large sections are obscured by sediments. In 2011, an exceptionally well-preserved braincase was found, only missing the frontal bones and orbitosphenoid.

Originally thought to be a coelophysoid related to Dilophosaurus and Cryolophosaurus, Oliver Rauhut in 2003 showed Sinosaurus to be a more advanced theropod, related to Cryolophosaurus and "Dilophosaurus" sinensis. In 2013, in an unpublished work, Carano agreed that Sinosaurus is a theropod. Sinosaurus has been considered a nomen dubium in a few works, although now that "Dilophosaurus" sinensis is referred to it, it is considered valid.

Other Wikis[]



In the Media[]

  • Sinosaurus appeared in Leaps in Evolution.
  • Sinosaurus appeared in Jurassic World: Primal Ops.