A Jinzhousaurus in Trouble
Continuing our occasional series, in which we post up illustrations from renowned palaeoartists, today, we feature a dramatic scene as depicted by the well-known Chinese artist Zhao Chuang. An unfortunate Jinzhousaurus is being attacked by a flock of “raptors”. The fast-running theropods will not find the Jinzhousaurus easy prey, Jinzhousaurus was strongly built and at over five metres long and weighing perhaps as much as three-quarters of a tonne, it was a formidable opponent.
Zhao Chuang’s Illustration of the Jinzhousaurus Attacked by Dromaeosaurids
Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang (PNSO)
Named and described in 2001, Jinzhousaurus (J. yangi) is known from an almost complete skeleton (including cranial material) from north-eastern China (Yixian Formation, Liaoning Province). The exact taxonomic position of Jinzhousaurus remains controversial. The skeletal material ascribed to this genus shows a mix of basal and more advanced characteristics. At first it was thought that this Ornithischian was related to the likes of Dollodon, Mantellodon from Europe and Bolong (B. yixianensis) from north-eastern China. It was described as an iguanodontoid, however, more recent analysis places Jinzhousaurus as a member of the Hadrosauroidea Superfamily.
Which Dromaeosaurid or Troodontid?
There is certainly no shortage of candidates as to which dromaeosaurid or troodontid might be depicted in this illustration. The Maniraptora is well represented in these Early Cretaceous deposits. However, as Jinzhousaurus is confined to the Dawangzhangzi Beds section of the Yixian Formation, this does narrow the field somewhat. It could be Sinornithosaurus, but as this genus is regarded as one of the smallest of the dromaeosaurids, then unless the Jinzhousaurus in the artwork is a juvenile, this seems unlikely. It could be an as yet, unnamed member of the Maniraptora whose fossils have yet to be formally described. Perhaps the attacking “raptors” are a flock of Zhenyuanlong dromaeosaurs.
An Illustration of the Early Cretaceous Dromaeosaurid Zhenyuanlong suni
Picture Credit: Zhao Chuang
Zhenyuanlong is one of several dromaeosaurid genera from Liaoning Province, for an article that compares these various dinosaurs and comments on whether they were ground-dwelling or otherwise: Updating the Winged Dragon.
To read an article about the scientific description of Zhenyuanlong suni: New Winged Dragon from Liaoning Province.
Although Zhenyuanlong was only recently named and scientifically described, there is already a prehistoric animal figure available that represents this dinosaur. In fact, in the Beasts of the Mesozoic model series, there are two Zhenyuanlong figures available. Our congratulations to the team behind these wonderful display pieces for being so quick off the mark when it comes to adding new dromaeosaurids to their “raptor” range.
Not One but Two Zhenyuanlong suni Figures are Available in the Beasts of the Mesozoic Range
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
To view the Zhenyuanlong figures and the rest of the splendid Beasts of the Mesozoic series: Beasts of the Mesozoic Prehistoric Animal Figures.