A sauropod made popular by not being quite so gentle as it’s family, Shunosaurus is well known for its spiked tail club. It was a much smaller sauropod than most at about 9.5 meters (36 feet) long, only 3 tons, and one of the shortest necks amongst all sauropods. This short neck and small body for a sauropod meant it was well equipped to browse the low growing vegetation between the tight tree growth of the rainforest. This small size however left it at a disadvantage against large carnivores, meaning it was perfectly on the menu for Jurassic Sichuan, China’s many predators, including the giant apex of the region: Yangchuanosaurus. To defend itself, it had a twin horned bone club formed out of an adapted vertebrae at the end of its whiplike tail. The mass of that bone club paired with the incredible velocity that would be generated with a tail whip could strike down a would-be attacker in a single blow. It would’ve otherwise enjoyed relative peace in the lush haven of the Jurassic rainforests full of a diversity of sauropods, stegosaurs, and orithopods.
- Shunosaurus was very common in its day, which has resulted in many specimens being preserved to study as fossils. 90% of the fossils recovered in the Dashanpu region belong to Shunosaurus. It is perhaps the most complete sauropod genus known today.
- Shunosaurus lived in a unparalleled biologically diverse area, comparable to the Amazon rainforest. It lived with countless dinosaur, pterosaur, and even aquatic creatures who made their way into the rivers from the open sea. Notable species from the Shaximiao formation include Mamenchisaurus, Yangchuanosaurus, Tuojiangosaurus, Gigantspinosaurus, and Omeisaurus.
- It’s name means “Shu Lizard,” in honor of where it was found in Sichuan, China.
Would you like to see Shunosaurus in Jurassic World: Alive?
How do you think it would be in game?
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