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Datousaurus (Getty Images)


Datousaurus (Chinese/Greek for "chieftain lizard"); pronounced DAH-too-SORE-us


Woodlands of Asia

Historical Period:

Middle Jurassic (180 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 50 feet long and 15 tons



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Medium size; unusually long neck


About Datousaurus:

Datousaurus is one of only a handful of sauropods that date to the middle (180 million years ago) rather than the late (150 million years ago) Jurassic period. Discovered by the famous paleontologist Dong Zhiming in the equally famous Dashanpu fossil beds of China, Datousaurus was medium-sized ("only" about 50 feet long from head to tail), and possessed an unusually long neck, probably an adaptation to the particular type of trees it ate. Its closest relatives were two other famous Chinese sauropods of the middle Jurassic, Shunosaurus and Omeisaurus.

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