Temporal range: Late Jurassic, 160Ma
|Mounted skeleton, Natural History Museum|
Dong et al., 1977
|Species:||† T. multispinus|
Dong et al., 1977
Tuojiangosaurus (meaning "Tuo River lizard") is a genus of stegosaurid dinosaur from the Late Jurassic Period, recovered from the Upper Shaximiao Formation of what is now Sichuan Province in China. Physically similar to the North American Stegosaurus, Tuojiangosaurus is the best understood of the Chinese stegosaurids. It was around 7 metres (23 ft) long and 2 metres (6.6 ft) high, with a postulated weight of around 4 tonnes (4.4 short tons).
Discovery and species
The type and only species, T. multispinus, was named in 1977 (exactly a hundred years after Stegosaurus) on the strength of two specimens, one over half complete.
Like Kentrosaurus, Tuojiangosaurus had two rows of pointed plates along the spine, which became taller over the hip region. It also had two outward-pointing spikes on each side of the end of the tail, angled at approximately 45 degrees to the vertical. In stegosaurids, this spike arrangement has become affectionately known as the "thagomizer". It also had the typical narrow head, bulky body, and low teeth of other stegosaurids.
Because it lacked the tall spines for muscle attachment found on the vertebrae of Stegosaurus, it was probably unable to rear up on its hind legs like that animal. This suggests that it would have eaten low-lying, ground vegetation.
A mounted skeleton of Tuojiangosaurus multispinus is on display at the Municipal Museum of Chongqing. In addition, a mounted cast is on display at the Natural History Museum, in London. Tuojiangosaurus is also present in the National Geographic Channel special Bizarre Dinosaurs.