, Volume 96, Issue 9, pp 1051–1058 | Cite as

The first definitive carcharodontosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from Asia and the delayed ascent of tyrannosaurids

  • Stephen L. BrusatteEmail author
  • Roger B. J. Benson
  • Daniel J. Chure
  • Xing Xu
  • Corwin Sullivan
  • David W. E. Hone
Original Paper


Little is known about the evolution of large-bodied theropod dinosaurs during the Early to mid Cretaceous in Asia. Prior to this time, Asia was home to an endemic fauna of basal tetanurans, whereas terminal Cretaceous ecosystems were dominated by tyrannosaurids, but the intervening 60 million years left a sparse fossil record. Here, we redescribe the enigmatic large-bodied Chilantaisaurus maortuensis from the Turonian of Inner Mongolia, China. We refer this species to a new genus, Shaochilong, and analyze its systematic affinities. Although Shaochilong has previously been allied with several disparate theropod groups (Megalosauridae, Allosauridae, Tyrannosauroidea, Maniraptora), we find strong support for a derived carcharodontosaurid placement. As such, Shaochilong is the first unequivocal Asian member of Carcharodontosauridae, which was once thought to be restricted to Gondwana. The discovery of an Asian carcharodontosaurid indicates that this clade was cosmopolitan in the Early to mid Cretaceous and that Asian large-bodied theropod faunas were no longer endemic at this time. It may also suggest that the ascent of tyrannosaurids into the large-bodied dinosaurian predator niche was a late event that occurred towards the end of the Cretaceous, between the Turonian and the Campanian.


Dinosauria Theropoda Carcharodontosauridae Tyrannosauridae Cretaceous Paleobiogeography 



We thank numerous curators and researchers for access to specimens in their care, foremost A. Kramarz, J. Canale, R. Cifelli, R. Coria, M. Getty, S. Hutt, M. Munt, J. Person, P. Sereno, V. Schneider, and X.-J. Zhao. We thank T. Carr, N. Smith, and an anonymous reviewer for their critiques, and P. Barrett, M. Benton, R. Butler, R. Cifelli, and S. Nesbitt for comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. Grants from the Cambridge Philosophical Society, the Jurassic Foundation, NERC, and the Palaeontographical Society supported collections visits. SLB is supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. RBJB’s research is supported by National Environmental Research Council studentship NER/S/A/2005/13488. Additional support was provided by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XX, CS, DWEH) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (XX).

Supplementary material

114_2009_565_MOESM1_ESM.doc (128 kb)
ESM1 (DOC 128 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen L. Brusatte
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Roger B. J. Benson
    • 3
  • Daniel J. Chure
    • 4
  • Xing Xu
    • 5
  • Corwin Sullivan
    • 5
  • David W. E. Hone
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of PaleontologyAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  4. 4.Dinosaur National MonumentJensenUSA
  5. 5.Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and PaleoanthropologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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