Wuerhosaurus

Wuerhosaurus was one of the last stegosauridae to have roamed the earth. It lived during the early Cretaceous period in the western region of China and the inner parts of Mongolia. The holotype of the Wuerhosaurus includes a nearly complete torso, all dorsal vertebrae with attached ribs, a complete sacrum, and the first five caudal vertebrae. 

Key facts

DomainDescription
Wuerhosaurus pronunciationWER-oh-SAWR-us
What does Wuerhosaurus mean?Lizard by Wuerho
Dinosaur typeArmoured
On the menuHerbivorous
Length16 feet (5 meters)
Height5 feet (1.5 meters)
WeightAbout 3300 lbs (1.5 tons)
Life expectancyUnknown
Legs used to get aroundQuadruped
Estimated top speedUnknown
When they livedEarly Cretaceous era 135 million years ago
Where they have been found?China and Mongolia

When & Where

There are two known species of the Wuerhosaurus; W. homheni and W. ordosensis. W. homheni fossils were discovered close to Wuerho in the Xinjiang province of China in 1973. The remains were found inside rocks of the Lianmuqin formation. 

W. ordosensis on the other hand, was discovered in 1988 in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of Northern China. Ordosensis is believed to have been relatively smaller in comparison to homheni. While there is no complete skeleton, the Wuerhosaurus is thought to have been closely related to the Stegosaurus in almost all aspects. 

Size & Weight

Only two partial skeletons of the Wuerhosaurus have been discovered to date: As a result, the exact size and weight measurements of this dinosaur are unknown. However, scientists estimate that the Wuerhosaurus was about 15-25 feet long and it weighed up to 4.5 tons as an adult. Its dorsal plates, unlike other stegosaurids, were much flatter and rounder.

Mobility & Diet

The Wuerhosaurus was mainly herbivorous. Its fossil structure shows that it was lower to the ground compared to other stegosaurids. This adaptation is thought to have enabled the Wuerhosaurus to feed on low-lying vegetation. It was a quadruple but its estimated top speed still remains unknown.

Interesting Points

  • There are two known species of the Wuerhosaurus; W. homheniand W. ordosensis
  • The Wuerhosaurus is considered one of the most advanced Stegosaurs, though this is still disputed due to incomplete fossils. 
  • The Wuerhosaurus and Stegosaurus are considered cousins.

Featured Image Credit: Debivort, CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/, via Wikimedia Commons