This week’s prehistoric animal is the huayangosaurus.

Image source: London looks on Flick.

A genus of stegosaurian from the Middle Jurassic, its name means Huayang lizard, referring to Huayang, an alternate name for the Chinese province of Sichuan, where it was discovered; its name also references the Hua Yang Guo Zhi, a Jin Dynasty gazatteer. The huayangosaurus was about 4.5 metres long (14 ¾’). Like most stegosaurians, it was a quadrupedal herbivore with a small skull, a spiked tail, and a double row of plates down its back. In huayangosaurus’s case, the plates were more like spikes than those on its (much later) relative, Stegosaurus. Unlike the later stegosaurians, the huayangosaurus had teeth in the front of its mouth.

According to the Audubon Society’s Familiar Dinosaurs, the huayangosaurus may have stood on its hind legs occasionally to browse choice vegetation.

Posted by Christian H.

The Huayang lizard, Huayangosaurus (1982)

Phylum : Chordata
Class : Reptilia
Order : Ornithischia
Suborder : Stegosauria
Family : Huayangosauridae
Genus : Huayangosaurus
Species : H. taibaii

  • Middle Jurassic (165 Ma)
  • 4,5 m long and 280 kg (size)
  • Sichuan province, China (map)

As it is the most basal stegosaurian, it is placed in within its own family Huayangosauridae. It is also morphologically distinct from later (stegosaurid) forms. Its skull was broader and had premaxillary teeth in the front of its mouth. All later stegosaurians lost these teeth.

Like many other stegosaurians, it had plates all down its back and spikes on its tail. Two large spikes were above its hips, and may have been used for deterring an attack from above (considering as it was a fairly short in height compared to later stegosaurians). Its plates were smaller than those of Stegosaurus, with much less surface area. Thus they would have been much less effective heat regulators, one of the postulated functions of plates.


H is for Huayangosaurus

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Name: Helen Hughes

Gender: Female

Age: 19

Height: 5'4” (human) – 5’ 10” (dino)

Mutant Species: Huayangosaurus

Birthday: June 1st

Occupation: College Freshman/ Active Jogger.

Sexuality: Straight


“Enjoy your stay on Nexus Island,” the woman at the desk said as she handed Helen her complementary muffin.

Helen considered herself lucky. She had won a free trip to a tropical island resort, and now had the whole day to explore the place. With an island this big, she would be able to spend the entire day just exploring the surrounding sights. She began to jog her way down the path, eager to see the sights.

She took a bite of her muffin as she came across a large lake. The water was clear, and the sun sparkled off its surface. She sat next to the water and dipped her hand in: it was cool and refreshing, just like the beach at home.

“Man, this place is great,” she said to herself. She had always wanted to visit a place like this. Though her home was close to the beach, she was often stuck in the city. Her job didn’t give her much time to relax and enjoy the area around her home. While this wasn’t her home, she felt is was a start to a new wave in her life, where she would find a way to do whatever and go wherever she wanted.

She continued down the path, finishing her muffin as she jogged. But right before she started to head towards the mountain in the distance, a man stopped her.

“Please Mam, we need you to take another path,” the man said. “We are having some issues with the local wild life.”

“Oh, what is the matter?” she asked, curious as to how the animals could cause any harm to the resort.

“The animals have become restless lately, and we are trying to get the situation under control,” the man replied. “In the mean time, I need you to take the other path for now.”

“Sure sure,“ Helen said as she started to jog up the path, not noticing a slight bulge in her shoe.

“Man, I hope those animals are okay,” she thought to herself as she continued to jog. She wondered what could have caused them to act out.

Suddenly, her shoe burst open - she tripped over her now swollen foot. She stopped in her tracks, arching over as spikes jutted out of her back. "What!?!” she cried as her spine began to grow out, forming a small tail.

She was confused. What the heck was going on. Her body was changing before her eyes? What could have caused it?

She grabbed her chest, as her breasts began to swell, pushing against her shirt. She held her breath as her neck elongated, gasping as the rest of her body started to expand. She tried to fight the change, but she couldn’t. Her body began to tremble, and she let out a loud cry as the last few changes came to an end.

She looked over herself - her body was different now…. MUCH different. Her neck was long, body was large, back covered in spikes.  And the tail…

She called out for someone, but all she could do was make loud moans. She sat down, trying to think about what was going on.

But then, a loud roar came from the mountains. She looked out into the distance, and realized what the man meant by “animal situation”…