Temporal range: Middle Jurassic
Xuanhanosaurus 01 698f
An artist's illustration of Xuanhanosaurus qilixiaensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Metriacanthosauridae
Genus: Xuanhanosaurus
Dong, 1984
Species: X. qilixiaensis
Binomial name
Xuanhanosaurus qilixiaensis
Dong, 1984

Xuanhanosaurus quiliziansis, was a species and genus of unique theropod dinosaur that lived during the Middle Jurassic period of the Sichuan Basin, China.[1][2][3]


Named after Xuanhan County Sichuan Basin where it was found, this theropod lived at the same time as the better-known theropod Gasosaurus, the stegosaur Huayangosaurus, and the sauropods Shunosaurus and Datousaurus. It was a Bipedal carnivorous theropod.

Xuanhanosaurus by cisiopurple dd

Xuanhanosaurus illustration. Credit: Cisiopurple

Dong at first classified Xuanhanosaurus in the family Megalosauridae, but currently; most Paleontologists now believe that it was an actual tetanuran, quite possibly a basal allosauroid !![4]

Although it has been known for more than 40 years, this taxon has been the subject of only a mere few studies.

The arm of Xuanhanosaurus was significantly more developed; robust and longer in comparission to later theropods; such as Ceratosaurus; Torvosaurus even to its distant relatives such as Allosaurus, vague Epanterias even gigantic Saurophaganax.

Xuanhanosaurus qilixiaensis by teratophoneus dc15kwu

Xuanhanosaurus qilixiaensis reconstruction andcillustration. Credit: teratophoneus

It was more robustly built. The third finger was slender and it also probably had a claw but it was not found with a skeleton. A fourth finger was only a single small bone that was most likely imbedded in the palm of the hand and not visible in the living animal.[5][6]

It is unknown if this theropod had a grasping ability. The shoulder bones and the breastbone were large, suggests that Xuanhanosaurus was a tough and strong theropod for its habitat and era.[7]

  • Inaccurately; it was sometimes believed that it used its arms for walking, highly similar to debunked Quadrupedal Spinosaurus theory.

Scientists are hoping to find more fossils of Xuanhanosaurus so they have more information to study. More fossils may also give clues as to which family this unusual dinosaur belongs to.

Discovery and Recovery[]

Only the front limb and six primitive-looking vertebrae of this dinosaur have been discovered. But they are so different from other theropods that in 1984 Chinese paleontologist Dong Zhiming named the new genus Xuanhanosaurus after the type species.[8]



  • 1. Information from ROMTECH Computer CD Dinosaur Discovery