Fun Yandusaurus Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Nov 29, 2022 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Sep 30, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Check out these mind-blowing Yandusaurus facts and learn more about this interesting dinosaur!
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.7 Min

Yandusaurus is a genus of ornithopod dinosaurs that lived during the Middle Jurassic period.

It was initially considered a hypsilophodont dinosaur because of its structure that resembled dinosaurs belonging to Ornithischia. The discovery of its remains was purely accidental.

In 1973, at a construction site near the Honghe Dam in China, a composter processed the bones of a skeleton of a dinosaur by mistake.

The Museum of the Salt Industry was informed, and a team of paleontologists was able to save the fossils, but they had become badly damaged by the machinery by the time they could do so.

However, reconstruction of the bones was still carried out and a new genus was formed this dinosaur after it could not be classified into an existing genus.

It was discovered that these fossils had been found in the Lower Shaximiao Formation, and the parts that were reconstructed to some degree included its skull, shoulder girdle, vertebral column, and its hands and legs.

All of them had been greatly damaged, but it was concluded that its diet was herbivorous, and it was an ornithopod dinosaur.

It was given a proper description and named as Yandusaurus, meaning 'Yandu lizard' by He Xinlu in 1979, and its type species was given the scientific name, Yandusaurus hongheensis. A second species of this dinosaur genus was also found, Y. multidens, but was later assigned to a new genus of its own.

If you want to read more about this dinosaur, then keep reading this article!

To know more interesting facts about other dinosaurs, check out our Bellusaurus interesting facts for kids and Serendipaceratops interesting facts for kids pages.

Yandusaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Yandusaurus'?

The name of this dinosaur, Yandusaurus, meaning 'Yandu lizard', is phonetically pronounced as 'Yan-doo-sore-us' or 'Yan-du-sawr-us'.

What type of dinosaur was a Yandusaurus?

Yandusaurus was first considered to be an ornithopod dinosaur of the family Hypsilophodontidae within the clade Ornithopoda. However, the family is now considered invalid and this dinosaur is no longer considered a hypsilophodont, but a member of the order Ornithischia.

More specifically, it is considered a neornithischian within Ornithischia. The clade Neornithischia consists of hypsilophodont dinosaurs, members of Ornithopoda, Marginocephalia, and Iguanodontia.

They are characterized by uneven and asymmetrical teeth that have much more developed sharp ridges than other members of Ornithischia.

This description of asymmetrical teeth was found to match the teeth in the Yandusaurus skull that was recovered at the construction site as well. It is theorized that their teeth had evolved to become sharp to allow these dinosaurs to accommodate their herbivorous diet and chew on tougher plant material than other members of Dinosauria.

In which geological period did the Yandusaurus roam the Earth?

The remains of this dinosaur were discovered in the Lower Shaximiao Formation in China, which consists of the layers of rock that date back to the Middle Jurassic period. Yandusaurus, in particular, has been estimated to have lived during the Bathonian age of the Middle Jurassic period.

Some believe that it was also alive during the Oxfordian age of the Late Jurassic period. Therefore, it would have walked on Earth almost 174.1-157.3 million years ago.

When did the Yandusaurus become extinct?

The time period in which this dinosaur could have gone extinct is currently uncertain due to the lack of research and lack of fossils available. The partial skeleton obtained from the construction site only dates back to the Late or Middle Jurassic, and it is not known whether these members of Dinosauria existed after that time period.

Where did a Yandusaurus live?

The Yandusaurus, meaning 'Yandu lizard', lived in what is now known as China. There is a possibility that it was endemic to China as remains of this dinosaur have not been found in any other country.

What was a Yandusaurus' habitat?

It has been found that the place which is now called the Lower Shaximiao Formation was covered with forests during the Jurassic period, with a large lake and river. This genus of dinosaurs would have lived in a terrestrial forest with a wide variety of vegetation and plant material to feed on.

Who did a Yandusaurus live with?

It is thought that this dinosaur, like other ornithopod dinosaurs, was quite gregarious or social, and would have lived in small groups or herds that fed and roamed around together. It would have also existed with other herbivorous dinosaurs that lived in modern-day China during the Middle Jurassic period such as sauropods Omeisaurus, Shunosaurus, and Mamenchisaurus.

How long did they live?

There is no information available regarding the lifespan of this dinosaur. However, iguanodontians are also members of the clade Ornithopoda, and have been estimated to have had a life expectancy of at least 25-30 years each.

How did they reproduce?

Like all members of Dinosauria, the Yandusaurus also laid eggs instead of giving birth to live young. Besides that, not much is known about the nesting habits or incubation period of the dinosaurs of this genus as a nest belonging to them has not yet been discovered.

Yandusaurus Fun Facts

What did a Yandusaurus look like?

Yandusaurus, meaning 'Yandu lizard', was a bipedal and so had long hind limbs with four toes, and much shorter front or forelimbs with five fingers each. This would have probably made the dinosaur unable to walk on all fours.

It had a medium body length, and the sides of its skull were found to be curved, leading to the belief that it would have had large eyes.

The teeth were sharp and asymmetrical with vertical ridges and worn down on the inside, as is common with other members of Neornithischia. This was so they could eat much tougher plant material as part of their herbivorous diet than other ornithischians.

The Yandusaurus dinosaur was a bipedal ornithopod dinosaur and would have had large eyes.
We've been unable to source an image of Yandusaurus and have used an image of Hypsilophodon instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Yandusaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com.

How many bones did a Yandusaurus have?

The total number of bones that this dinosaur has is difficult to estimate as not many Yandusaurus fossils have been recovered, and only a partial skeleton was discovered from the construction site in China.

How did they communicate?

Though it is not exactly known how this dinosaur communicated with others of its kind, scientists are certain that these prehistoric animals would have used various forms of vocalizations or body language to express themselves to others.

How big was a Yandusaurus?

Despite the lack of more fossils or evidence available, several paleontologists have been able to estimate the body length of this dinosaur, and according to them, its length would have been in the range of 9.8-13 ft (3-4 m).

Its length would have been around just a little bit bigger than Orodromeus, which is also a dinosaur belonging to the order Ornithischia.

How fast could a Yandusaurus move?

The exact speed with which Yandusaurus dinosaurs would have moved has not been quantified, but it is said to have been a very fast-moving bipedal dinosaur.

How much did a Yandusaurus weigh?

The weight of this dinosaur was estimated by Gregory S. Paul to have been around 308 lb (140 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There were no sex-specific names for the dinosaurs of this genus, and they are simply called male or female dinosaurs.

What would you call a baby Yandusaurus?

Like most members of Dinosauria, a baby dinosaur of this genus is referred to as a hatchling.

What did they eat?

Similar to all other ornithopods, the diet of this dinosaur consisted of plant material or vegetation that would have been available in China during the Middle Jurassic period.

How aggressive were they?

It is unlikely that this dinosaur would have been aggressive as it was a gregarious herbivore.

Did you know...

Soon after the Yandusaurus hongheensis had been discovered, the second species of this genus was found. This new species of Yandusaurus, Y. multidens, was known by two complete skeletons and nine partial skeletons.

Later, it was assigned to the Agilisaurus as A. multidens. It continued to change genera by being renamed Othnielia multidens by Gregory S. Paul, but eventually, a new genus of dinosaurs was formed for these specimens by the name of Hexinlusaurus.

The Yandusaurus is similar to which other dinosaur?

The Yandusaurus dinosaur was initially put into the family Hypsilophodontidae, which is now considered to be invalid. A dinosaur genus, Hypsilophodon, was also a member of this family and can, therefore, be considered somewhat similar to Yandusaurus.

Hypsilophodon fossils have been found on the Isle of Wight from the Wessex Formation and were dated back to the Early Cretaceous period.

What does the term Yandusaurus mean?

'Yandu' was once a name given to the city of Zigong. It is made up of the words, 'yan' meaning 'salt', and 'du' meaning 'capital', as the city is considered to be the capital of salt mining in China.

The meaning of the term Yandusaurus becomes 'Yandu lizard'.

Moreover, the fossils of Yandusaurus dinosaurs were saved from a composter machine at a construction site by a team of the Museum of Salt Industry in Zigong, and the name is thought to honor them as well.

The specific name of the type species, Y. hongheensis, is a reference to the Honghe River and Dam, near to where the construction site had been.

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 Adamantisaurus facts and Suuwassea facts for kids.

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

Main image by ArthurWeasley

We've been unable to source an image of Yandusaurus and have used an image of Hypsilophodon instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Yandusaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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