Zanabazar junior

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Zanabazar junior
Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 70 Ma
Skeletal restoration by Jaime Headden
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Troodontidae
Genus: Zanabazar
Norell et al., 2009
Z. junior
Binomial name
Zanabazar junior

Saurornithoides junior Barsbold, 1974

Zanabazar is an extinct genus of troodontid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia. The genus was originally named by Rinchen Barsbold as a species of Saurornithoides, S. junior. In 2009 it was reclassified as its own genus, named after the first spiritual figurehead of Tibetan buddhism, Zanabazar. The holotype, GIN 100–1, includes a skull, vertebrae, and right hindlimb. Zanabazar was one of the most derived troodontids, and the second largest after Troodon.


Reconstructed skull by Jaime Headden

Zanabazar is the largest known Asian troodontid, with a skull length of 272 millimetres (10.7 in). The only other troodontids that appear to be larger than it are specimens from Alaska that are currently classified in the genus Troodon.[1]

History of discovery

In 1974, Rinchen Barsbold described a new specimen of derived theropod from the Bugeen Tsav of the Nemegt Formation, which is dated to about 70 million years ago.[2][1] This specimen, GI No. SPS 100–1, was named by Barsbold as a new species of Saurornithoides, S. junior. The skeleton includes a nearly complete skull and braincase, part of the pelvis, some tail vertebrae, and parts of the right hindlimb.[2] In 2009 a review of the genus found that the support for S. junior in the same genus as S. mongoliensis was lacking. Mark Norell and colleagues re-classified the species in the new genus Zanabazar, which they named in honor of Zanabazar, the first spiritual head (Bogd Gegen) of Tibetan Buddhism in Outer Mongolia.[1]


While originally included in Saurornithoides, within the family Saurornithoididae, Zanabazar is now thought to be a derived member of Troodontidae.[2][1]

Life restoration of Zanabazar junior
Comparison of troodontid teeth; C, D, F, and G are Zanabazar

The cladogram below shows the phylogenetic position of Zanabazar among other troodontids following a 2014 analysis.[3]











IGM 100/44








See also


  1. ^ a b c d Norell, M.A.; Makovicky, P.J.; Bever, G.S.; Balanoff, A.M.; Clark, J.M.; Barsbold, R.; Rowe, T. (2009). "A Review of the Mongolian Cretaceous Dinosaur Saurornithoides (Troodontidae: Theropoda)". American Museum Novitates. 3654: 63. doi:10.1206/648.1. hdl:2246/5973.
  2. ^ a b c Barsbold, R. (1974). "Saurornithoididae, a new family of small theropod dinosaurs from Central Asia and North America" (PDF). Palaeontologica Polonica. 30: 5–22.
  3. ^ Tsuihiji, T.; Barsbold, R.; Watabe, M.; Tsogtbaatar, K.; Chinzorig, T.; Fujiyama, Y.; Suzuki, S. (2014). "An exquisitely preserved troodontid theropod with new information on the palatal structure from the Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia". Naturwissenschaften. 101 (2): 131–142. doi:10.1007/s00114-014-1143-9. PMID 24441791.

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