What is Qianlong shouhu?

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Researchers in China recently discovered a previously unknown dinosaur species named ‘Qianlong shouhu’ alongside dozens of its unhatched eggs.

Why in News?

  • Alongside the adult specimens, the Chinese researchers also uncovered around 50 fossilized eggs of the same species, spread out across five different nests that contained the skeletal remains of the embryos inside them.
  • The discoveries may represent the earliest known fossil record of adult dinosaurs and their associated egg nests.

About Qianlong shouhu

  • It belongs to a group of dinosaurs known as sauropodomorphs, which contains sauropods and their ancestors. 
  • It lived in what is now China during the Early Jurassic epoch, between 200 and 193 million years ago.
  • The name of the new species roughly translates to "a dragon in Guizhou that protects its embryos."
  • It was a medium-sized sauropodomorph that measured roughly 20 feet in length and likely weighed 1 ton.
  • Their eggs were elliptical in shape and relatively small. The eggshells may have had a texture similar to leather. It provides "strong evidence" for the earliest known "leathery" eggs.

What are Sauropods?

  • Sauropods were the dominant herbivores of the Jurassic period and were characterized by their long necks, long tails, and four-legged stance.
  • They were some of the largest land animals ever to walk on Earth. They often reached lengths of up to 40 to 150 feet or more from head to tail.
  • Sauropods typically weigh between 20 and 70 tons, which is equivalent to 10 to 35 elephants.
  • They had relatively small skulls and brains and erect limbs reminiscent of the limbs of elephants.
  • They were also one of the longest-living groups, existing for approximately 1040 million years in a wide variety of habitats around the world.
  • Fossilized bones or footprints belonging to sauropods have been found on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Their greatest abundance was during the Jurassic Period, but they continued to exist until the Upper Cretaceous period, when many other dinosaur species went extinct. 

Q1) What is the Jurassic epoch?

It is a division of the geologic timescale and is the second epoch of the Mesozoic Era. It lasted from approximately 201.3 million years ago to 145 million years ago. It is often referred to as the "Age of Dinosaurs."Dinosaurs continued to diversify and dominate terrestrial ecosystems during this time. Iconic dinosaur genera such as Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus, and Allosaurus lived during the Jurassic.

Source: Fossils Of Dinosaurs That Died 190 Million Years Ago Found In China Alongside 50 "Leathery" Eggs