Fun Shanshanosaurus Facts For Kids

Aashita Dhingra
Jan 16, 2023 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on May 10, 2022
Shanshanosaurus facts are great for kids.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.8 Min

Are you interested to know more about dinosaurs and the information we get from their fossils? If so, then you are in for a treat as we are going to discuss the Shanshanosaurus.

It's a debated dinosaur as some still question if it's really supposed to be a different genus.

But, Dong Zhiming, a Chinese paleontologist, was pretty sure about it, and he was the one to describe the Shanshanosaurus huoyanshanensis in 1977. However, the fossils of this theropod dinosaur were first found in the mid '60s in the Shanshan County, Turpan Basin of China, Asia.

This dinosaur is said to belong to the Late Cretaceous period, which took place around 100-66 million years ago. The dinosaur fossil specimen has been given the holotype IVPP V4878.

Some scientists tried to match the features of the bone structure and stated that it was possibly a juvenile or sub-adult Tarbosaurus. This dinosaur is said to have been carnivorous in nature, and it would have sustained a diet of lizards and mammals.

Keep reading to learn interesting facts about Shanshanosaurus, also known as Tarbosaurus.

Shanshanosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Shanshanosaurus'?

The name of this dinosaur is pronounced as 'SHAN-shan-oh-SORE-us'.

What type of dinosaur was a Shanshanosaurus?

The dinosaurs from the Shanshanosaurus genus are thought to have been a part of the theropod group. In its classification, the larger family of tyrannosauridae is mentioned. Scientists believe that the Shanshanosaurus huoyanshanensis was a bipedal carnivorous animal.

In which geological period did Shanshanosaurus roam the earth?

The Shanshanosaurus dinosaurs are said to have existed during the Late Cretaceous (Upper Cretaceous) which takes them back to around 100-66 million years ago. The fossil remains of this genus were found in the Subishi Formation situated in the Shanshan County, Turpan Basin of China.

When did the Shanshanosaurus become extinct?

The Shanshanosaurus is believed to have been present on the earth during the Late Cretaceous period, so we can assume that these dinosaurs left us about 66 million years ago.

Where did Shanshanosaurus live?

Shanshanosaurus remains have been found in Shanshan County present in the Turpan Basin of China. This formation is found in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China.

Scientists suggest that this formation took place between the Campanian and Maastrichtian of the Late Cretaceous period. The Chinese paleontologist Dong Zhiming was the first one to describe the finding of the Shanshanosaurus fossil in this formation.

What was the Shanshanosaurus' habitat?

We don't really know the habitat in which these dinosaurs must have lived. As this genus is supposed to be alike to the Tarbosaurus, it might have lived in floodplains with river streams as was the place during the Late Cretaceous period.

The dinosaurs of this genus are thought to be carnivorous in nature, so they might have lived in areas that had an abundance of prey.

Who did Shanshanosaurus live with?

It's hard to say if dinosaurs lived in a group or preferred to be alone. However, we can assume that this therapod must have been in close contact with other dinosaurs that lived near its habitat.

How long did a Shanshanosaurus live?

As very few remains have been found of this genus, no one has been able to comment on its exact lifespan. But, if it was as close as Tarbosaurus as some scientists believe, then this dinosaur would have lived for about 25 years.

How did they reproduce?

As you might know, dinosaurs were oviparous in nature. So, the female dinosaurs laid eggs. Most scientists believe that dinosaur eggs were fertilized internally before laying them. We don't really know if the animals took care of the offspring or not.

Shanshanosaurus Fun Facts

What did Shanshanosaurus look like?

The Shanshanosaurus is said to have been a bipedal dinosaur from the tyrannosaurids family. So, it would have had strong and larger hindlimbs to support its movement, while the forelimbs would have been smaller.

As a theropod dinosaur, it would have had a long neck with three-toed feet. The description of its body from scientists also depicts a pretty long tail.

Shanshanosaurus was a therapod from Late Cretaceous period.

How many bones did a Shanshanosaurus have?

As scientists have only been able to find partial skeleton remains of the Shanshanosaurus, we won't be able to tell you the number of bones it had in its body. The only fossil specimen found included a partial skull along with some bones.

How did they communicate?

Well, we don't really know much about how these tyrannosaurids might have communicated. But, in a general sense, dinosaurs are said to have made sounds for communication.

How big were the Shanshanosaurus?

Because only a partial bone specimen was found for the Shanshanosaurus huoyanshanensis, its actual height can't be determined. But, some sources suggest the Shanshanosaurus size to be between 5.9-9 ft (1.8-3 m).

At first, the animal was believed to be a small theropod. However, other scientists believe that the bones actually come from a juvenile or sub-adult Tarbosaurus. When we look at the Tarbosaurus individually, these tyrannosaurids were able to attain a size of 33-39 ft (10-12 m).

The skull of a Tarbosaurus is said to have been around 4.3 ft (1.3 m) in length and it has around 60 sharp teeth. Because of its large size, it's believed to have been an apex predator.

How fast could a Shanshanosaurus move?

We don't know the speed at which the Shanshanosaurus would have moved. But, as this Theropoda has been assigned under the family of tyrannosaurids, we can assume that it had a speed of around 15 mph (25 km/h).

How much did a Shanshanosaurus weigh?

We don't really know the exact weight of the Shanshanosaurus, as the skeleton specimens are said to be of a juvenile or sub-adult dinosaur. However, we would like to mention that Tarbosaurus is said to have been quite bulky with a described weight of around 11023 lb (5000 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names for the male and female of the dinosaurs from this genus.

What would you call a baby Shanshanosaurus?

A baby Shanshanosaurus would have been called a hatchling or juvenile.

What did they eat?

Scientists believe that just like the Tarbosaurus, the Shanshanosaurus huoyanshanensis might have also been a carnivorous animal. It's assumed that it had a diet of small mammals and reptiles.

But, we haven't been able to get many specimens to confirm the features of a Shanshanosaurus' diet. This theropod would have had sharp teeth that allowed it to tear through meat easily.

How aggressive were they?

Contrary to popular beliefs, dinosaurs weren't really as aggressive as they are sometimes described. Just like the reptiles of today, even the dinosaurs may have got into a fight or two based on the circumstances.

But, other than that, the animal would have gone ahead with its life without showing much aggression. As the Shanshanosaurus huoyanshanensis is thought to be a carnivorous animal, it might have been a bit more hostile than the herbivorous theropods.

Did You know...

Other fossils found in the Subashi Formation include that of the Nemegtosauru and the Jaxartosaurus.

The literal meaning of the word Shanshanosaurus is not known.

Tarbosaurus group of dinosaurs are considered to be the Asian counterparts of the tyrannosaurus groups of dinosaurs found in North America. However, while the tyrannosaurus from North America and Tarbosaurus from Asia might be closely related, they have some differences.

One of the differences like in the shape of the skull of each species. The skull of the Tarbosaurus is more slender than the skull of a tyrannosaurus.

The lacrimal part of the Tarbosaurus skull, however, has a more dome-like shape which is not present in the Tyrannosaurus skull. So, while the Tyrannosaurus skull is more heavily built, the Tarbosaurus skull is narrower.

Why are they called Shanshanosaurus?

The genus is known as Shanshanosaurus as its skeleton specimens were recovered from the Shanshan County present in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. So, the taxonomic name of this species literally stands for the Shanshan lizard.

Who discovered Shanshanosaurus?

The fossil remains of the Shanshanosaurus were found in the Subashi Formation of China, Asia. Dong Zhiming was the one to take the initiative to know more about the specimen with holotype IVPP V4878, and he provided the description of a new species called the Shanshanosaurus huoyanshanensis as well as gave the taxonomic division.

Image one by Гав-Гав2020.

Image two by GKNOVA6.

*We've been unable to source an image of Shanshanosaurus and have used an image of Tarbosaurus instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Shanshanosaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

*We've been unable to source an image of Shanshanosaurus and have used an image of Tarbosaurus instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Shanshanosaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

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Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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