Lianmuqin Formation



An Early Cretaceous formation of rather unknown age, Lianmuqin is located within the Junggar Basin of Xinjiang, China. Non-avialan dinosaurs are known from this region but not enough to make it a very well-known rock formation.

The Setting

We know that the Lianmuqin is part of the larger Tugulu Group, and was a formation of mudstone and siltstone. This suggests that it was an area of well-watered rivers and floodplains.


One of the better-known and more intriguing dinosaur genera found here is Wuerhosaurus. This animal is unique for being the very last of the stegosaurs, a group that had existed throughout the Jurassic but which are unknown from the Cretaceous.

Wuerhosaurus is known from rather complete albeit still fragmentary remains, and there are three species in the genus. The type species is Wuerhosaurus homheni, described in 1973 by Dong Zhiming. This is also the largest, at a size of 7 meters and weighing 4 tonnes.

The other two, W. ordosensis and W. mongoliensis are somewhat smaller and not as well known.


A species of Psittacosaurus, P. xinjiangensis, is also known from Lianmuqin.


The big predator of the formation is Kelmayisaurus, a carcharodontosaur. It is also known from rather fragmentary remains so its size would have been anywhere from 9 to 11 meters in length.

We know that there were sauropods and possibly basal coelurosaurians in this region but their remains are also poor.


The two pterosaurs found here are both members of Dsungaripteridae.

One of these is Dsungaripterus itself, a medium-sized member of the family. It is very well-known, and it has globular teeth set in upward-curving jaws. These jaws were quite useful to crack hard foods like freshwater mollusks.

Another genus was discovered here, the dsungaripterid Noripterus. It was somewhat smaller than its contemporary and had a straighter beak, with smaller teeth. It might not have eaten such tough prey.