23 Dinosaurs That Start With Z

Written by Deniz Martinez
Published: November 10, 2023
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While it used to be difficult to find more than a few dinosaurs whose names started with the letter Z, there are now at least 23 of them! A big reason for this proliferation is a number of discoveries made in China in recent decades, and the subsequent use of Chinese names for them. Read on to learn all their names, including how to pronounce them and what they mean.

1. Zalmoxes

Pronunciation: zal-mox-ees
Name means: named after the Dacian deity Zalmoxis

Zalmoxes is an extinct herbivore genus of Rhabdodontid Ornithopod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous, Zalmoxes isolated on white background with a clipping path

In addition to the type species

Zalmoxes‭ ‬robustus‭

‬,

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‬a second species

Zalmoxes ‬shqiperorum

was also named in 2003.

©YuRi Photolife/Shutterstock.com

Zalmoxes is a genus of habdodontid ornithopod dinosaur from the Maastrichtian age of the Late Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zalmoxes robustus in 2003 from fossils found in the Sânpetru Formation in Transylvania, Romania. It was a bipedal herbivore with an estimated length of 2.5 m (8.2 ft).

2. Zanabazar

Pronunciation: zah-nah-bah-zar
Name means: named after Öndör Gegeen Zanabazar

Zanabazar Scale
Zanabazar

‘s namesake Öndör Gegeen Zanabazar (1635-1723) was the first spiritual head of Buddhism in Mongolia.

©User:Slate Weasel / CC0 – License

Zanabazar is a genus of troodontid dinosaur from the Maastrichtian age of the Late Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zanabazar junior in 2009 from fossils found in the Nemegt Formation in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia. It was a bipedal carnivore with an estimated length of 3 m (9.8 ft).

3. Zapalasaurus

Pronunciation: zap-al-ah-sor-us
Name means: “‬Zapala lizard”

Zapalasaurus is a genus of diplodocoid sauropod dinosaur from the Barremian/Early Aptian ages of the Early Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zapalasaurus bonapartei in 2006 from fossils found in the La Amarga Formation of the Neuquén Basin, Argentina. It was a long-necked quadrupedal herbivore of undetermined length.

4. Zapsalis

Pronunciation: za-sah-lis‭ (silent ‘‬p‭’‭)
Name means: “thorough scissors”

Zapsalis is a genus of dromaeosaurine theropod dinosaur from the Campanian to Maastrichtian ages of the Late Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zapsalis ‬abradens in 1876 from fossil teeth found in the ‬Dinosaur Park Formation in Canada. It was a bipedal carnivore of undetermined length.

5. Zaraapelta

Pronunciation: zah-raah-pel-tah
Name means: “hedgehog shield”

Zaraapelta is a genus of ankylosaurid thyreophoran dinosaur from the Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zaraapelta nomadis in 2014 from a skull found in the Barun Goyot Formation in Mongolia. The genus name was formed by combining the Mongolian word for hedgehog, zaraa, and the Greek word peltè, a small shield, in reference to the overall prickly appearance of typical ankylosaur armor. It was a quadrupedal herbivore of undetermined length.

6. Zby

Pronunciation: zb-ee
Name means: named after Georges Zbyszewski

Zby

is named for Russian geologist and paleontologist Georges Zbyszewski (1909-1999).

©Nobu Tamura email:[email protected] http://spinops.blogspot.com/ / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Zby is a genus of turiasaurian sauropod dinosaur from the Kimmeridgian age of the Late Jurassic period. Researchers named the type species Zby atlanticus in 2014 from fossils found in the Lourinhã Formation in Portugal. It was a large quadruped herbivore with an estimated length of 16 – 18 m (52.5 – 59.1 ft).

7. Zephyrosaurus

Pronunciation: zef-e-ir-sor-us
Name means: “west wind lizard‭”

“Zephyr” derives from the name Zephyrus, a Greek wind god who was the personification of the west wind.

©FunkMonk / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Zephyrosaurus is a genus of orodromine ornithischian dinosaur from the Albian age of the Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zephyrosaurus schaffi in 1980 from fossils found in the ‬Cloverly Formation in Montana, USA. It was a bipedal herbivore with an estimated length of 1.8 m (5.9 ft).

8. Zhanghenglong

Pronunciation: jahng-heng-long
Name means: “Zhang Heng’s dragon‭”

Zhang Heng (78–139 CE) was a Chinese polymath from the Han dynasty era.

©Xinghaiivpp / CC BY 2.5 – License

Zhanghenglong is a genus of hadrosauroid iguanodont dinosaur from the Santonian age of the Late Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zhanghenglong yangchengensis in 2014 from fossils found in the Majiacun Formation in Henan Province, China. It was a quadrupedal herbivore with an estimated length of 5.5 – 6 m (18.0 – 19.7 ft).

9. Zhejiangosaurus

Pronunciation: juhr-jiahng-o-sor-us
Name means: “‬Zhejiang lizard‭”

Zhejiangosaurus lishuiensis

‘s species epithet means “from Lishui,” the city where the fossil was found.

©Gary Todd from Xinzheng, China / CC0 – License

Zhejiangosaurus is a genus of nodosaurid ankylosaurian dinosaur from the Cenomanian age of the Late Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zhejiangosaurus lishuiensis in 2007 from fossils found in Lishui, Zhejiang Province, China. It was a quadrupedal herbivore with an estimated length of 4.5 m (14.8 ft).

10. Zhenyuanlong

Pronunciation: jen-yoo-en-long
Name means: “Zhenyuan’s dragon‭”

Dinosaur fossils: Zhenyuanlong suni, Liaoning, Yixian China. First demonstration of feather morphology in short-armed dromaeosaurid, the largest non-avian dinosaur with complex wings. Selective focus
Zhenyuanlong suni

is named after Zhenyuan Sun from the Jinzhou Paleontological Museum.

©Mark Brandon/Shutterstock.com

Zhenyuanlong is a genus of dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Aptian age of the Early Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zhenyuanlong suni in 2015 from a nearly complete preserved skeleton found in the Yixian Formation of ‬Liaoning Province‭, China. It was a feathered bipedal carnivore with an estimated length of 2 m (6.6 ft).

11. Zhongjianosaurus

Pronunciation: jawng-jiahn-o-sor-us
Name means: “Zhongjian’s lizard”

“Zhongjian’s lizard” is named for Yang Zhongjian (1897-1979), known as the “Father of Chinese Vertebrate Paleontology”.

©Tomopteryx / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Zhongjianosaurus is a genus of microraptoran dromaeosaurid dinosaur from the Barremian to Aptian ages of the Early Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zhongjianosaurus yangi in 2017 from fossils found in the Yixian Formation in China. It was a small feathered and winged theropod estimated to have been only about 25 cm (9.8 in) tall and just 310 g (10.0 oz) in weight, making it the smallest microraptor currently known.

12. Zhongyuansaurus

Pronunciation: jawng-yoo-en-sor-us
Name means: “Zhongyuan lizard”

Like many of the names on this list,

Zhongyuansaurus luoyangensis

is named for the locality in which the first specimen was found.

©Gary Todd / CC0 – License

Zhongyuansaurus is a genus of ankylosaurid dinosaur from the Aptian–Albian ages of the Early Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zhongyuansaurus luoyangensis in 2007 from fossils found in the Haoling Formation in ‬Luoyang, Henan, China in an area known as the Zhongyuan (Central Plain) region. It was a quadrupedal herbivore of undetermined length.

13. Zhuchengceratops

Pronunciation: joo-chuhng-seh-rah-tops
Name means: “‬Zhucheng horned face‭”

Zhuchengceratops is a genus of leptoceratopsid ceratopsian dinosaur from the Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zhuchengceratops inexpectus in 2010 from fossils found in the Wangshi Group in Zhucheng County, Shandong, China. It was a quadrupedal herbivore with an estimated length of 2.5 m (8.2 ft).

14. Zhuchengtitan

Pronunciation: joo-chuhng-tie-tan
Name means: “‬Zhucheng Titan‭”

Zhuchengtitan is a genus of titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur from the Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zhuchengtitan‭ ‬zangjiazhuangensis‭ in 2017 from fossils found in the ‬Xingezhuang Formation in Shandong Province‭, China. It was a large quadrupedal herbivore of uncertain size.

15. Zhuchengtyrannus

Pronunciation: joo-chuhng-tih-ran-us
Name means: “Zhucheng tyrant”

Zhuchengtyrannus It is a dinosaur theropod late Cretaceous belonging to the family Tyrannosauridae. isolated on white background.
Zhuchengtyrannus magnus

‘ species epithet refers to its relatively large size for a tyrannosaur.

©Ton Bangkeaw/Shutterstock.com

Zhuchengtyrannus is a genus of tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Maastrichtian age of the Late Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zhuchengtyrannus magnus in 2011 from fossils found in the Wangshi Group in Zhucheng, Shandong, China. It was a bipedal carnivore with an estimated length of 10 m (33.0 ft).

16. Ziapelta

Pronunciation: tsee-ah-pel-tah
Name means: “Zia shield‭”

Ziapelta

is named for the sun symbol of the Zia Pueblo, which is featured on the New Mexico state flag.

©Illustration by Sydney Mohr / CC BY 2.5 – License

Ziapelta is a genus of ankylosaurid dinosaur from the Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Ziapelta sanjuanensis in 2014 from fossils found in the Kirtland Formation‭ in the San Juan Basin in New Mexico, USA. It was a quadrupedal herbivore with an estimated length of 4.6 – 6.1 m (15.0 – 20.0 ft).

17. Zigongosaurus

Pronunciation: dz-gawng
Name means: “Zigong Lizard”

Zigongosaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Middle to Late Jurassic period. Researchers named the type species Zigongosaurus fuxiensis in 1976 from fossils found in the Shaximiao Formation in Zigong, Sichuan, China. It was a long-necked quadrupedal herbivore with an estimated length of 15 m (49.2 ft).

18. Zizhongosaurus

Pronunciation: dz-jawng-o-sor-us
Name means: “‬Zizhong lizard‭”

Zizhongosaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur from the Toarcian age of the Early Jurassic period. Researchers named the type species Zizhongosaurus chuanchengensis in 1983 from fossils found in Zizhong County, Sichuan, China. The species epithet refers to the town of Chuancheng. It was a large quadrupedal herbivore of undetermined size.

19. Zuniceratops

Pronunciation: Zoo-nee-seh-rah-tops
Name means: “Zuni horned face”

Zuniceratops was a herbivore ceratopsian dinosaur from the mid-Turonian of the Late Cretaceous Period, Zuniceratops isolated on white background with clipping path
Zuniceratops christopheri

‘s species epithet honors paleontologist Douglas G. Wolfe’s son, Christopher James Wolfe, who first discovered the fossils in 1996 when he was just eight years old!

©YuRi Photolife/Shutterstock.com

Zuniceratops is a genus of ceratopsian dinosaur from the Turonian age of the Late Cretaceous Period. Researchers named the type species Zuniceratops christopheri in 1998 from fossils found in the Moreno Hill Formation in New Mexico, USA. It was a quadrupedal herbivore with an estimated length of 3.5 meters (11.2 ft).

20. Zuolong

Pronunciation: “zoo-o-long”
Name means: “Zuo’s dragon”

“Zuo’s dragon” is named after General Zu Zōngtáng, also known as “General Tso.”

©FunkMonk (Michael B. H.) / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Zuolong is a genus of tetanuran theropod dinosaur from the Oxfordian age of the Late Jurassic period. Researchers named the type species Zuolong salleei in 2010 from fossils found in the ‬Shishugou Formation in Xinjiang, China. It was a bipedal carnivore with an estimated length of 3.1 m (10.2 ft).

21. Zuoyunlong

Pronunciation: zoo-o-yoon-long
Name means: “Zuoyun dragon”

Zuoyunlong huangi

‘s species epithet honors Chinese paleontologist Huang Weilong.

©Miracusaurs / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Zuoyunlong is a genus of hadrosauroid dinosaur from the Cenomanian age of the Late Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zuoyunlong huangi in 2015 from fossils found in the ‬Zhumapu Formation in Zuoyun County, Shanxi, China. It was a bipedal herbivore with an estimated length of 8 m (26.2 ft).

22. Zupaysaurus

Pronunciation: zoo-pay-sor-us
Name means: “devil lizard‭”

Zupaysaurus is a carnivore genus of early theropod dinosaur living during the Norian stage of the Late Triassic, Zupaysaurus isolated on white background with clipping path

Zupaysaurus

gets its name from the Quechua name “

Supay

,”‬ originally the name of the god of death and ruler of the underworld in Incan mythology, and in modern times another name for

Diablo

(Devil).

©YuRi Photolife/Shutterstock.com

Zupaysaurus is a genus of theropod dinosaur from the Norian age of the Late Triassic period. Researchers named the type species Zupaysaurus‭ ‬rougieri‭ in 2003 from fossils found in the Los Colorados Formation in Argentina. It was a bipedal carnivore with an estimated length of 4 m (13.1 ft).

23. Zuul

Pronunciation: zool
Name means: ‬named after the character from the Ghostbusters‭ film franchise

Zuul in environment
Zuul‭ ‬crurivastator

‘s species epithet means “shank destroyer.”

©ABelov2014 (https://abelov2014.deviantart.com/) / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Zuul is a genus of ankylosaurine dinosaur from the Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous period. Researchers named the type species Zuul‭ ‬crurivastator in 2017 from fossils found in the ‬Judith River Formation in Montana, USA. It was a quadrupedal herbivore with an estimated length of 6 m (19.7 ft).

Summary of 23 Dinosaurs That Start With Z

NameMeaningGeological PeriodWhere FoundYear Named
1. Zalmoxesnamed after the Dacian deity ZalmoxisLate CretaceousTransylvania, Romania2003
2. Zanabazarnamed after Öndör Gegeen ZanabazarLate CretaceousMongolia2009
3. Zapalasaurus“‬Zapala lizard”Early CretaceousArgentina2006
4. Zapsalis“thorough scissors”Late CretaceousCanada1876
5. Zaraapelta“hedgehog shield”Late CretaceousMongolia2014
6. Zbynamed after Georges ZbyszewskiLate JurassicPortugal2014
7. Zephyrosaurus“west wind lizard‭”Early CretaceousMontana, USA1980
8. Zhanghenglong“Zhang Heng’s dragon‭”Late CretaceousChina2014
9. Zhejiangosaurus“‬Zhejiang lizard‭”Late CretaceousChina2007
10. Zhenyuanlong“Zhenyuan’s dragon‭”Early CretaceousChina2014
11. Zhongjianosaurus“Zhongjian lizard”Early CretaceousChina2017
12. Zhongyuansaurus“Zhongyuan lizard”Early CretaceousChina2007
13. Zhuchengceratops“‬Zhucheng horned face‭”Late CretaceousChina2010
14. Zhuchengtitan“‬Zhucheng titan‭”Late CretaceousChina2017
15. Zhuchengtyrannus“Zhucheng tyrant”Late CretaceousChina2011
16. Ziapelta“Zia shield‭”Late CretaceousNew Mexico, USA2014
17. Zigongosaurus“Zigong Lizard”Mid-Late JurassicChina1976
18. Zizhongosaurus“‬Zizhong lizard‭”Early JurassicChina1983
19. Zuniceratops“Zuni horned face”Late CretaceousNew Mexico, USA1998
20. Zuolong“Zuo’s dragon”Late JurassicChina2010
21. Zuoyunlong“Zuoyun dragon”Late CretaceousChina2015
22. Zupaysaurus“devil izard”Late TriassicArgentina2003
23. Zuulnamed after the character from Ghostbusters‭Late CretaceousMontana, USA2017
Sources: DinopediaPrehistoric Wildlife

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Maria Edilma Ayala/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Deniz Martinez is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on biogeography, ornithology, and mammalogy. Deniz has been researching, teaching, and writing about animals for over 10 years and holds both an MS degree from American Public University earned in 2016 and an MA degree from Lindenwood University earned in 2022. A resident of Pennsylvania, Deniz also runs Art History Animalia, a website and associated social media dedicated to investigating intersections of natural history with art & visual culture history via exploring animal iconography.

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