Tongtianlong limosus, an oviraptorosaur

Tongtianlong limosus was a member of the theropod clade named Oviraptoridae. It was described in 2016 by a team of scientists led by Junchang Lü from the Institute of Geology of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences. Tongtianlong lived during the latest Cretaceous, some 72 to 66 million years ago, in what is now the Jiangxi Province, China.

Tongtianlong was a sheep-sized oviraptorid. It was probably an omnivore or an herbivore. According to the study by Lü and his colleagues, T. limosus was most closely related to Wulatelong gobiensis and Banji long, the latter being unearthed from the same strata.

Tongtianlong is known from a reasonably complete, three-dimensionally preserved skeleton, including the skull and jaws. Its material was preserved in a position that was tentatively interpreted by the authors as showing the animal to be stuck in the mud, with outstretched arms (hence its name, meaning “muddy dragon on the road to heaven”).

Tongtianlong limosus was the sixth oviraptorosaur (member of the large clade of theropod dinosaurs named the Oviraptorosauria) discovered in the strata belonging to the Nanxiong Formation since 2010.

Featured image by Zhao Chuang. CC BY 4.0.
Picture of the fossil specimen by Junchang Lü and colleagues. CC BY 4.0.

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