Gasosaurus

gasosaurus
Gasosaurus (Shanghai Museum of Science and Technology).

Name:

Gasosaurus (Greek for "gas lizard"); pronounced GAS-oh-SORE-us

Habitat:

Woodlands of China

Historical Period:

Late Jurassic (160 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

Up to 13 feet long and 500 pounds

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Moderate size; large head; stiff tail; bipedal posture

 

About Gasosaurus

The only remains of the obscure but amusingly named dinosaur Gasosaurus were discovered in 1985 by the employees of a Chinese gas-mining company.

From the limited number of fossil fragments, adding up to a single partial skeleton, most paleontologists believe that Gasosaurus resembled a vastly scaled-down Allosaurus, its fellow (and more famous) theropod of the late Jurassic period (about 160 million years ago), though its arms were proportionately a bit longer compared to its overall size. However, because so little is known about Gasosaurus, it's possible that this dinosaur may have been incorrectly classified--and is in fact better assigned as a species of Megalosaurus or Kaijiangosaurus. (And no, we have no reason to believe that Gasosaurus suffered from gas pains, or farted or burped any more than other dinosaurs!)

By the way, in 2014 Gasosaurus was the subject of an amusing internet hoax, in which it was claimed that a "200-million-year-old" (sic) Gasosaurus egg carelessly stored next to a museum boiler somehow managed to incubate and hatch.

As is usually the case with such things, the story made it all the way around the world via social media until people realized that it had originally been published by the World News Daily Report, a serious-sounding website that actually traffics in made-up news, a la The Onion. (In case you're wondering, it's impossible to "hatch" a dinosaur egg, because the fossilization process literally turns whatever is inside it to stone!)

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Strauss, Bob. "Gasosaurus." ThoughtCo, Jan. 24, 2017, thoughtco.com/gasosaurus-1091802. Strauss, Bob. (2017, January 24). Gasosaurus. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/gasosaurus-1091802 Strauss, Bob. "Gasosaurus." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/gasosaurus-1091802 (accessed May 24, 2018).