Welcoming Zhanghenglong

It has been a while coming on the Musings, but here’s something that’s bordering on traditional palaeontology. However, it is based on ornithischians, so obviously doesn’t quite count. That is a joke before I start getting all the complaints in the comments – I’m genuinely pleased to finally be on a paper that focuses on the other side of the Dinosauria after all my saurischian work. Anyway, long term readers will remember this post from back in 2011 about creating plaster jackets in the field. This was from a trip down in Henan were we turned up a number of specimens (and interestingly, Xu Xing was called away up to Zhucheng becuase of the discovery of what would turn out be Zhuchengtyrannus). At the time we had something that looked like a hadrosaur of some sort, and the blocks you can see us removing in the other post form the core of the new paper.

So say hello to Zhanghenglong, a basal hadrosauroid from the Late Cretaceous. Somewhat inevitably there’s not much of it, though there is a good maxilla (shown below) and dentary, as well as dorsal vertebrae, ribs, a scapula and a tibia. Phylogenetically it comes out as a hadrosauroid, but very close to the base of Hadrosauridae and gives some additional support to the idea of an Asian origin for hadrosaur groups with the nearest relatives to hadrosaurs being from Asia, as are the earliest lambeosaurines at at least a couple of members of the hadrosaurines. Happily the full paper is at PLoS ONE so all the information is fully accessible if you want more.


Xing H, Wang D, Han F, Sullivan C, Ma Q, et al. (2014) A New Basal Hadrosauroid Dinosaur (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda) with Transitional Features from the Late Cretaceous of Henan Province, China. PLoS ONE 9(6): e98821. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098821

9 Responses to “Welcoming Zhanghenglong”

  1. 1 roberta4949 07/06/2014 at 9:22 pm

    how do you pronounce it’s name? is the z silent? I like the way this hadrosaur is depicted with colors and cool looking head.

  2. 3 Sean 09/06/2014 at 8:12 pm

    What on earth was up with the phylogenetic analysis from that paper? Either very important or very badly done. Ouranosaurus is inexplicably outside of hadrosauriformes, instead of taking its usual position as most basal member. Edmontosaurus saskatchewanensis is considered valid, thought Wulagasaurus is further supported to be a Brachylophosaur. Meanwhile, Arenysaurus is back with the Lambeosaurins, and most oddly, Charonosaurus is found to be deeply nested within Parasaurolophus, as if Parasaurolophin biogeography wasn’t made complicated enough by Blasisaurus and Arenysaurus… Whats your opinion on the matter?

    • 4 David Hone 09/06/2014 at 9:45 pm

      I genuinely don’t have much opinion on it since I had no involvement in the analysis and don’t work on hadrosaurs, and people much more experienced and qualified than me did work on it and indeed reviewed and edited the paper. However, I think you want to be careful with an opening gambit implying it might be badly done, not exactly the most polite start.

      • 5 Sean 10/06/2014 at 12:33 am

        I’m not saying its badly done, I’m just saying not to take such views as absolute truth without good proof. Ouranosaurus outside Hadrosauriformes however doesn’t make any sense in my mind.

      • 6 David Hone 10/06/2014 at 9:09 am

        “I’m not saying its badly done”


        “Either very important or very badly done.”

        Which rather implies you think it one of only two possibilities. Yeah sure, you’re not *saying* it was badly done, just heavily implying that it was one of only two possibilities.

        “I’m just saying not to take such views as absolute truth without good proof.”

        And where exactly did I or anyone state this was this case? I basically said this is what came out in the analysis, and never made any claim that this or any analysis was correct, perfect or unquestionable.

      • 7 Sean 11/06/2014 at 12:58 am

        It was more meant to be more of a figure of speech. That said, bad analysis isn’t unheard of. I wasn’t expecting my wording to be nitpicked when I wrote it.

        I didn’t say you ever implied this. I was simply giving reasoning to my wording. I can come off as negative when I don’t mean to be.

    • 8 David Hone 11/06/2014 at 8:37 am

      You might not have intended it, but that’s very much how it came off to me. It’s easy to change a few words and make things seem much less aggressive or negative. Just “Some of those results look odd to me, what do you think might have caused that arrangement?” still makes it clear it’s not what you expect but there’s no need for “very badly” to appear.

  3. 9 Tim Donovan 13/04/2015 at 2:01 pm

    It’s interesting the basal forms persisted longer in Asia than Laramidia, despite the connection. Plesiohadros is late Campanian. Lophorhothon is around the same age but there’s nothing like it or Zhanghenglong in the Dinosaur Park.

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