Episode 251 is all about Huayangosaurus, a smaller Chinese relative of Stegosaurus.
Interview with Ari Rudenko, the founder and artistic director of Prehistoric Body Theater, a performance company that uses dance to teach about paleontology and evolution. His show, Ghosts of Hell Creek, is currently fundraising to go on tour. We also interviewed Ari in episode 104 when he was first starting the project.
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In this episode, we discuss:
- A new study finds that raptors likely used their claws for grasping or restraining prey source
- A new fully rooted Triceratops tooth is on display at Casper college in Wyoming source
- The Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands 3D printed some missing bones of their new Triceratops source
The dinosaur of the day: Huayangosaurus
- Stegosaur that lived in the Middle Jurassic in what is now China
- About 14.7 ft (4.5 m) long (one of the smallest known stegosaurs)
- Had a double row of plates on its neck, back, and tail (more spike like than relative Stegosaurus)
- Had lots of osteoderms, including shoulder spines
- Had two large spikes above its hips, which may have helped deter predators from attacking
- Plates were smaller than Stegosaurus
- Had vein-like cavities in the plates on its back, may have helped regulate body temperature or change the color of the plates to either scare off predators or attract potential mates
- Had two pairs of long spikes near the end of its tail (thagomizer)
- Had a small skull
- Skull was broader than later stegosaurs, and had premaxillary teeth in the front of its mouth (later stegosaurs did not have this)
- Had a shorter snout than Stegosaurus
- Had long forelimbs
- Type species is Huayangosaurus taibaii
- Described in 1982 by Dong Zhiming, Tang Zilu, and Zhou Shiwu
- About 12 individuals found in the Dashanpu Quarry in Sichuan in 1979 and 1980
- Genus name comes from Huayang, an alternate name for Sichuan, the province in China where it was found
- Name means “Huayang’s lizard”
- Genus name also alludes to the Hua Yang Guo Zhi from the Jin Dynasty
- Species name is in honor of the Chinese poet Li Bai, whose courtesy name was Taibai
- In 2006, Susannah Maidment reviewed the material and found some of the referred specimens should be different taxon
- Lived around the same time and place as sauropods such as Shunosaurus and Omeisaurus, the ornithopod Xiaosaurus, and the carnivore Gasosaurus
- Can see a mounted skeleton of Huayangosaurus at the Zigong Dinosaur Museum in Zigong and the Municipal Museum of Chongqing in Sichuan Province, China
- Can also see Huayangosaurus in the game Jurassic World: Evolution
Fun Fact: Not all raptors are “raptors”. In addition to dromaeosaurs, there are oviraptors, and other theropods that use the name.