Jingshanosaurus in Yunnan

Jingshanosaurus (meaning “Jingshan lizard”) is a genus of sauropodomorph dinosaurs from the early Jurassic period. Jingshanosaurus is a genus of prosauropod dinosaur that lived during the Early Jurassic period. It is named after the Jingshan locality in Yunnan Province, China, where its fossils were discovered.

History of discovery

Its fossils, a nearly complete skeleton including the skull, were found near the town of Jingshan (“Golden Hill”), Lufeng County, Yunnan Province, China, from which the name derives. First described in 1995, the type species is J. xinwaensis, formalized by Zhang and Yang. Fossil remains of Jingshanosaurus had been exhibited in museums several years prior to the formal naming.


Jingshanosaurus may have been most closely related to Yunnanosaurus, and has, at times, been included in the Yunnanosauridae. In fact, Dong Zhiming considered Jingshanosaurus possibly a large specimen of Yunnanosaurus. If true, this would make Jingshanosaurus a junior synonym of Yunnanosaurus.

Here are some key points about Jingshanosaurus and its significance:

Key Points about Jingshanosaurus

  1. Discovery:
    • Jingshanosaurus fossils were first discovered in the Lower Jurassic rock formations of Yunnan Province.
    • The genus was named and described by Chinese paleontologist Zhang Yihong in 1992.
  2. Physical Characteristics:
    • Jingshanosaurus is a prosauropod, a type of early herbivorous dinosaur that is considered to be a precursor to the larger sauropods.
    • It had a long neck and tail, with a relatively small head, and walked on both two and four legs.
    • It is estimated to have been around 5 meters (16 feet) in length.
  3. Significance:
    • The discovery of Jingshanosaurus provided valuable insights into the evolution of sauropod dinosaurs.
    • Its well-preserved fossils have contributed to the understanding of dinosaur fauna in the Early Jurassic period in Asia.
  4. Habitat:
    • During the Early Jurassic, Yunnan was part of a lush, forested environment with a warm climate, providing an ideal habitat for herbivorous dinosaurs like Jingshanosaurus.

Fossil Sites in Yunnan

Yunnan is known for its rich fossil sites, particularly in the Lufeng Basin, which has yielded numerous important dinosaur fossils, including those of Jingshanosaurus. These sites have helped paleontologists piece together the history of early dinosaurs in Asia.

Visiting Fossil Sites in Yunnan

If you’re interested in paleontology and want to see where Jingshanosaurus and other dinosaurs were discovered, consider visiting the following:

  1. Lufeng Dinosaur Fossil Site:
    • Located in Lufeng County, this site has a museum that displays many dinosaur fossils, including those from the Early Jurassic period.
  2. Chuxiong Dinosaur Museum:
    • This museum, located in Chuxiong City, showcases a variety of dinosaur fossils found in Yunnan, providing educational exhibits on the region’s prehistoric life.
  3. Yunnan Provincial Museum:
    • Located in Kunming, the provincial capital, this museum also features exhibits on Yunnan’s paleontological discoveries.

Yunnan Province’s contribution to paleontology, particularly with discoveries like Jingshanosaurus, highlights its importance in the study of dinosaur evolution and prehistoric life.