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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 20, 2021

17 Roar-some Facts About The Yinlong That Kids Will Love

Check out these amazing Yinlong facts and get to know about this amazing dinosaur!

The Yinlong was a very interesting and important genus of ceratopsian dinosaurs. It was found in the Shishugou Formation in China, within the deposits that dated it back to the Late Jurassic period. It was named in 2006 after the highly acclaimed movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", and the name literally translates from Mandarin to "hidden dragon", because much of the movie was shot near where the fossils of this dinosaur were found. The genus consists of a single species, Y. downsi, the specific name of which was given in the memory of the American paleontologist William Randall Downs III, who went on many paleontological expeditions in China but passed away shortly before the discovery of the Yinlong.

The Yinlong is considered to be the earliest known ceratopsian, as all other dinosaurs of that group have been found to live only after the Jurassic period ended. It has the rostral bone or beak that identifies it as a ceratopsian, and it also has a small frill-like structure on the top of its head, which is a trait of Pachycephalosaurians. Therefore, it is a unique dinosaur as it has the features of both the groups of dinosaurs, which placed it in the group, Marginocephalia, which consists of both, ceratopsians and Pachycephalosaurians. However, its skull also displayed some features that are usually known in heterodontosaurids, thus, showing that the Yinlong is related to heterodontosaurids as well.

If you want to read more about other dinosaurs, check out our Ostafrikasaurus fun facts and Sauropelta interesting facts pages.

Yinlong Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Yinlong'?

The Yinlong is simply pronounced as "Yin-long".

What type of dinosaur was a Yinlong?

This dinosaur is a type of ceratopsian, though it shares some features with the members of Heterodontosauria and Marginocephalia as well. This is because of the rostral bone present at the end of its mouth, which is a primitive form of the beak of ceratopsians. The dinosaur is related to all the above groups and explains a lot about each of their evolutionary processes, such as the possibility that ceratopsians were once bipedal, but moved on to using all four of their limbs to walk. Thus, it is closely related to each of the above groups, and so, belongs to the larger group which includes all of them and more, Ornithischia.

In which geological period did the Yinlong roam the earth?

The Yinlong would have been found on Earth during the Oxfordian stage of the Late Jurassic, and almost 161.2-155.7 million years ago.

When did the Yinlong become extinct?

It is possible that the Yinlong never became extinct after the Late Jurassic and merely evolved into the ceratopsians from the Cretaceous period, but there is no way to prove this yet.

Where did a Yinlong live?

The Yinlong lived in modern-day central Asia, and its remains were found in the Xinjiang Province of the country of China.

What was Yinlong's habitat?

The habitat of this ceratopsian dinosaur would have been a terrestrial one, with plenty of vegetation available for it to feed on.

Who did Yinlong live with?

Ceratopsian dinosaurs were generally known to be social animals, though the features of the groups they could have formed are not known.

How long did a Yinlong live?

The lifespan of this ceratopsian is not known, but that of similar dinosaurs that lived after the Jurassic period, such as the Triceratops, have been estimated to live long lives because of their large size and herbivorous diet.

How did they reproduce?

This ceratopsian dinosaur would have been oviparous, that is, it would lay eggs from which young ones would emerge.

Yinlong Fun Facts

What did a Yinlong look like?

The appearance of a Yinlong is somewhat known from the skull and a well-preserved skeleton of the animal. It had a wide and deep skull, which was larger than most members of the group Ornithischia. Though there was not a full frill like in later ceratopsians, the top or back of the skull was observed to be a little raised, and it had a beak at the end of its upper jaw. Its forelimbs were slender and short, with three fingers, and the hind legs were longer as they were used to move around.

The Yinlong had a wide skull, with short hands and long legs.

How many bones did a Yinlong have?

The total number of bones of a Yinlong is currently unknown as though the fossils found to consist of a well-preserved skeleton, its tail, and some other parts have not been recovered yet.

How did they communicate?

These earliest members of the group Ceratopsia would have communicated using their voices by making calls of some sort. They could have also used their body language or some actions to communicate with another dinosaur of its kind.

How big was a Yinlong?

A Yinlong downsi would have been smaller than many members of Ceratopsia that lived millions of years later, with an average body length of 3.9 ft (1.2 m). Thus, it would have been about half the length of a Zuniceratops.

How fast could a Yinlong move?

Though the speed of this dinosaur is not known, it could have been faster than later ceratopsians due to its smaller size, weight, and its habit to use its hind legs to move around, that is, bipedalism.

How much did a Yinlong weigh?

This first ceratopsian dinosaur would have weighed about 33 lb (15 kg), which is about the same weight as a Heterodontosaurus, which is theorized to have been closely related to the group Marginocephalia, to which the Yinlong belongs.

What were the male and female names of the species?

There were no specific names for the male and female dinosaurs in this genus or species.

What would you call a baby Yinlong?

A baby Yinlong, like most baby dinosaurs, would have been called a hatchling when it would be very young and had just hatched out of its egg.

What did they eat?

Similar to the diet of most members of Ceratopsia, the Yinlong was a herbivore and would have fed on plant material that would have been available in its habitat. Along with some of its bones, seven gastroliths were also found where its stomach would have been. Gastroliths are stones that are found in some animals who do not have the specific kind of teeth with which to grind the food they eat, and these stones help in doing that in the stomach of the animal.

A possible predator of this dinosaur could have been the Guanlong, which was one of the earliest known tyrannosauroids, and would have lived during the Late Jurassic in the modern-day country of China.

How aggressive were they?

Though later ceratopsians are thought to have been territorial, it is not sure whether aggressiveness is one of the features they inherited from the Yinlong.

Did you know...

The discovery of the Yinlong provided hard evidence that the members of Heterdontosauridae and Marginocephalia were closely related. Thus, a new clade was formed and named Heterodontosauriformes. This group consisted of the common ancestors of the Heterodontosaurus and Triceratops and all of their descendants.

Where was the Yinlong found?

A well-preserved skeleton with the skull of a Yinlong was first found in the Junggar Basin in the Shishugou Formation that is situated in the Xinjiang Province of China. This location was near where the shooting of the famous movie, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" took place, leading the dinosaur to be given the name of Yinlong, which is Mandarin for "hidden dragon".

How many ceratopsians are there?

There were many types of ceratopsians that existed during the Cretaceous period, with the exception of the Yinlong, which lived during the Late Jurassic and around 161.2-155.7 million years ago. All of them shared the common features of being a herbivore and having a characteristic rostral bone at the end of their upper jaws that formed a parrot-like beak. Many of them had frills on their necks and facial horns that could have served as protection from predators.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Harpactognathus facts and Homalocephale facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable dinosaur reading coloring pages.

Image one by Nobu Tamura.

Image two by Kabacchi.

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