Tuojiangosaurus

The Tuojiangosaurus was a huge dinosaur believed to have lived in the Upper Shaximiao Formation in China, present-day Sichuan Province. Like its predecessor, the Kentrosaurus, Tuojiangosaurus had plates along its spine, the neck, and the front truck. These plates are thought to have been a way of protection from predators as they were formed into spikes at the central section. 

Key Facts

DomainDescription
Tuojiangosaurus pronunciationtoo-YANG-oh-sore-us
What does Tuojiangosaurus mean?Tuo River lizard
Dinosaur typeArmoured
On the menuHerbivorous
Length23 feet (7 meters)
Height8 feet 4 inches (2.5 meters)
WeightAbout 5700 lbs (2.6 tons)
Life expectancyUnknown
Legs used to get aroundQuadruped
Estimated top speed8 km/h (5 mph)
When they livedLate Jurassic era 157-154 million years ago
Where they have been found?China

When & Where

The remains of the Tuojiangosaurus were accidentally discovered in 1974 during the construction of the Wujiaba dam in Zigong. Later, in 1977, the Tuojiangosaurus was named and described by Chang Yijong, Zhou Shiwu, Li Xuanmin, and Dong Zhiming. Its holotype was found in the Upper Shaximiao Formation, representing the most complete stegosaurus skeleton ever found in Asia. 

Size & Weight

Large and hideous, the Tuojiangosaurus weighed a stunning 3 metric tons and measured up to 6.5 meters in length. It closely resembled the North American Stegosaurus but had a relatively narrower head. 

Mobility & Diet

The Tuojiangosaurus was herbivorous. It is thought to have fed on low-lying vegetation because its head was closer to the ground. The Tuojiangosaurus was also unable to rear up due to its short spine, so it moved on all four limbs.

Interesting Points

  • The Tuojiangosaurus is the most famous of the Chinese stegosaurs.
  • A skeleton of the Tuojiangosaurus fighting a Monolophosaurus is on display in various historical sites, including the Field Museum of Chicago and the Municipal Museum of Chongqing. 
  • Contrary to popular opinion, its body plates were not meant for defense or thermoregulation but for aesthetics. 
  • The Tuojiangosaurus was named exactly 100 years after the Stegosaurus.

Featured Image Credit: Paleocolour, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons