Eras of Life
 Dinosaur Evolution
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  Tsintaosaurus spinorhinus
 Prehistoric Sea Monsters

Tsintaosaurus spinorhinus (Chien, 1958)

Tsintaosaurus spinorhinus dinosaur
Name Means: "Tsingtao Crested Lizard" Length: 33 feet (10 m)
Pronounced: ching-Dow-o -SAW-rus Weight: 3 tons (2,700 kilos)
When it lived: Late Cretaceous - 80 MYA    
Where found: Shandong Province, China    
   Tsintaosaurus was a large, heavily-built dinosaur that stood upright on its hind legs.  It is a member of the hadrosaur or duck-billed group These plant-eating dinosaurs had toothless beaks, strong jaws and a massive battery of grinding teeth that would have let them efficiently eat tough foliage.  It could have easily eaten pine needles or cycad fronds.  It's teeth were self-sharpening.  They had four-fingered hands and many of the hadrosaurs had elaborate crests on their heads. 
    Tsintaosaurus did not have a crest, rather it had a long horn in the middle of its forehead.  Unlike crests which faced backward, the horn projecting forward.  This has led to it often being called, "the Unicorn Dinosaur."  The feature was so unusual that scientists first thought that the fossil remains may have been those of two animals mixed together, but that theory has now been discarded.  No one is sure of the exact shape of the horn that developed around the fossilized bone.  It may have been fat or thin.  Some authorities have speculated that it had a sail.  No one knows what the horn was used for. It may have provided a visual signal in combat or courtship; it may have been used to make sounds, or it may even have enhanced its sense of smell.
   It is one of several strange dinosaurs discovered in China. Tsintaosaurus was named by Young Chung Chien in 1958.  after the city of Tsingtao in Shandong Province, where the fossil was found. The species name spinorhinus refers to the spine-like crest on its head.  Tsintaosaurus may be the same as Tanius (which was named earlier and therefore retains its name), which was a crestless Hadrosaurid from China. Tanius was named by Carl Wiman in 1929 


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