Dinosaurs Whose Names Start with the Letter “Z”

With a number of new Chinese dinosaur fossil discoveries being announced over the last few years or so, the number of dinosaurs, whose names begin with the letter “Z” has increased dramatically.  For example, the Thyreophoran (armoured dinosaur) from China called Zhejiangosaurus and the Hadrosaur called Zhuchengosaurus.  These are both examples of Ornithischian dinosaurs known from Cretaceous aged strata.  However, Jurassic, lizard-hipped dinosaurs (Saurischians) get a look in to at the end of the alphabet thanks to the discovery of Zigongosaurus (long-necked Sauropod dinosaur from the Jurassic).

It is not just dinosaurs from China that dominate the very last letter of the alphabet.  Our experts at Everything Dinosaur can think of two dinosaur genera from Argentina that both begin with the letter “Z”.  Firstly, there is the poorly known Triassic Theropod called Zupaysaurus, whose fossils date from the Middle Triassic.  Then there is the much larger Zapalasaurus, a Diplodocid Sauropod from Cretaceous aged strata.

Our favourite dinosaur beginning with the letter “Z” is the horned dinosaur from North America called Zuniceratops (Zuniceratops christopheri) which was formally named and described in 1998.

An Illustration of the North American Ceratopsian Zuniceratops

Reconstruction based on the likes of Zuniceratops.

Reconstruction based on the likes of Zuniceratops.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

In 2011, a giant Tyrannosaurine dinosaur was named and described from a bone bed found in Shandong Province in China.  This dinosaur was named Zhuchengtyrannus magnus.  Unfortunately, the press releases announcing the discovery were sent out by the Chinese press agency on March 31st and they arrived in UK news rooms the next day.  Many media groups thought the story some kind of elaborate April Fool’s joke.  However, roaming north-eastern China in the Late Cretaceous was a very large, Tyrannnosaurine dinosaur that may have been about the same size as Tyrannosaurus rex.

To read more about Zhuchengtyrannus: New Tyrannosaur Named and Described from China

With so many new Chinese dinosaurs, we can expect many more dinosaurs to have names starting with the twenty-sixth letter of the western alphabet.

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