Nurosaurus – The Dinosaur that Technically Doesn’t Exist

I decided to write about this particular animal simply because I only very recently heard about its existence and because there is so little information out there on the genus – the main reason for this being that the genus has not officially been described by the palaeontologists working on it.

 

Meaning of name: “Nur lizard”.

Scientific name: the proposed name is N.qaganensis; sometimes also spelt as ‘chaganensis’.

Classification: Dinosauria, Saurischia, Sauropodamorpha, Sauropoda – no matter where I looked, I just couldn’t find any information on exactly which sauropod family this particular genus falls under – but barring that, the family is probably something along the lines of ‘Nurosauropoda’ or ‘Nurosauridae’.

Size: extrapolations suggest an animal roughly 25m (80ft) long.

Weight: 22.7 Metric tonnes (25 Imperial tons).

Time: somewhere in the Early Cretaceous.

Location: Inner Mongolia in China (yes, there is an area of China called ‘Inner Mongolia’, please do look it up if you are curious, it is a bit of trivia I found rather interesting)

Named by: Dong Zhiming in 1991, but at the time the genus name was spelt “Nuoerosaurus’, Dong renamed the genus to ‘Nurosaurus’ in 1992 – from what I can tell, I could well be wrong, like I said: very little information to go around when it comes to this dinosaur.

The only thing this genus has going for it is that it is known as the longest and possibly heaviest of all Asian herbivores ever to exist – I got that piece of information from a National Geographic dinosaur book, but I get the feeling that could be incorrect information, I’m sure there were, at some point, heavier herbivorous dinosaurs living in China but I could be wrong; I don’t particularly want to take on NatGeo.

A Nurosaurus reconstruction has been available to the public for quite some time now, but the reason I call this the ‘Dinosaur that Technically Doesn’t Exist’ is because Nurosaurus has never been formally described in a peer-reviewed paper. What this means is that we have it’s remains, we know it existed and it has been given a name; but beyond that, this dinosaur is known only to look similar in many respects to Camarasaurus. As part of the scientific method a paper has to be peer-reviewed before it can be stated as fact, meaning that other palaeontologists have to go through any documentation by Dong Zhiming regarding this animal; while going through the paper their main objective is to find problems and point them out, sometimes even finding or theorising solutions to said problems. If a paper comes back from its peer-review and there are no problems to be found, it can be released to the world without further hassle (if there are problems, they will be submitted to the author and they will then rework their paper and theories until there are no issues to be found) and, until any evidence to contradict statements within the paper is found, it is considered scientific fact.

This is the main reason many of Albert Einstein’s theories and equations were only proven true after his death; because other mathematicians and physicists literally didn’t understand his equations, so they couldn’t prove him right nor could they prove him wrong.

The lack of an official paper describing Nurosaurus is also the cause for concern regarding how its name is spelt because the correct spelling will be subject to change until the paper is written, reviewed and released.

Whether a peer-reviewed paper describing Nurosaurus doesn’t exist because no one will read it or because Zhiming hasn’t written it yet (or why) is, as yet, unclear. For now, though, all Nurosaurus has is a name and some partial remains.

 

 

This has been Nurosaurus, this has been me; and you’ve been reading Dinosaurs Made Easy.

 

Image credit: dinosaurpictures.org

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