Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, uncertain
|An artist's illustration of Wuerhosaurus homheni|
Wuerhosaurus is a genus of stegosaurid dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous Period of China. As such, it was one of the last genera of stegosaurians known to have existed, since most others lived in the late Jurassic, Wuerhosaurus was unique that way. Two species had been discovered, which were called W.homheni and W.ordosensis.
Wuerhosaurus homheni was probably a broad bodied animal. Gregory S. Paul in 2010 estimated the length at 7 metres (23 ft) and the weight at four tonnes. Only a few scattered bones have been found, making a full restoration difficult. Its dorsal plates were at first thought to have been much rounder or flatter than other stegosaurids, but Maidment established this was an illusion caused by breakage: their actual form is unknown, one of the many different dinosaur mysteries we have yet to solve. W. homheni had a pelvis of which the front of the ilia strongly flared outwards indicating a very broad belly. The neural spines on the tail base were exceptionally tall. W. ordosensis was estimated by Paul to have been 5 metres (16.5 feet) long and weigh 1.2 tonnes. It too has a broad pelvis but the neural spines are shorter. The neck seems to have been relatively long, similar to its cousin, Dacentrurus. The thagomizers on the tail of Wuerhosaurus is rather similar to its larger North American cousin, Stegosaurus, and pays a strong resemblence to other Stegosaurs from the Late Jurassic to the Early Cretaceous.
Wuerhosaurus homheni is the type species, described by Dong Zhiming in 1973 from the Tugulu Group in Xinjiang, western China. The generic name is derived from the city of Wuerho. The remains consisted of the holotype IVPP V.4006, a skull-less fragmentary skeleton, and the paratype IVPP V4007, three vertebrae from the tail of a second individual. A smaller species from the Ejinhoro Formation in the Ordos Basin in Inner Mongolia, W. ordosensis, was formalized by the same researcher in 1993. It is based on specimen IVPP V6877, a fragmentary skeleton lacking the skull. It was found in 1988. Susannah Maidment and colleagues proposed in 2008 that Wuerhosaurus should be considered a junior synonym of Stegosaurus, with type species W. homheni as Stegosaurus homheni and second species W. ordosensis regarded as dubious. This opinion has been contested, however, due to the fact that Stegosaurus would be considered to have a Chinese species.
Wuerhosaurus was lower to the ground than most other stegosaurids; scientists believe that this was an adaptation to let it feed on low-growing vegetation. Wuerhosaurus, like other stegosaurids, perhaps had a thagomizer on the end of its tail, like that of Stegosaurus which featured four bony spikes that would most likely have been used for self-defense. A single spike was found but was seen by Dong as being positioned on the shoulder. An important fact to remember is; this species is one of the last stegosaurians even existed. Despite world-wide extinctions, a few species triumph.
In the Media
- Wuerhosaurus appeared in a documentary PBS The Dinosaurs! in episode "The Nature of the Beast".
- Wuerhosaurus appeared in the game Dinosaur Hunting (XBOX), one individual is a sub target on stage 6.
- Wuerhosaurus appears in the game boy advance game Jurassic Park III: Park Builder, it is nr. 65 of the Herbivore Twos.
- Wuerhosaurus was supposed to be one of the dinosaurs set to appear in Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, but was cut early in the development of the game.
- Wuerhosaurus appears in the series of Dinosaur King.
- Wuerhosaurus appears in Jurassic World: The Game. It can only be obtained by joining a VIP Membership.
- Wuerhosaurus will appear in Jurassic World: Alive as a Rare Stegosaur. It is obtainable by darting 100 Wuerhosaurus, and can be fused with the Epic hybrid, Purutaurus to create the versatile Carnotarkus, which is a rather strange hybrid, a carnivorous Stegosaurid.