Chinese locals believe that ancient China was inhabited by dragons, and the remaining of a colossal fossil reminded them of their existance. The fossil of a dinosaur with a neck measuring half of its body length, has been discovered in South western China.
A team of paleontologists from the University of Alberta, have discovered a 50 feet long neck dinosaur species in China. The colossal animal is estimated to have inhabited Earth, 160 million years ago, in the late period of the Jurassic. The enormous skeleton has been discovered in 2006 in the city of Qinjiang, by some local farmers who were digging for a fishpond.
One of the members of the research team, Lida Xing, who participated in the study togheter with Tetsuto Miyashita, famous paleontologist Philip Currie, stated that they have named the dinosaur, Qijianglong, which means the “dragon of Qijiang”. This name was chosen, after the farmers who found it thought the bones of the animal, were similar in shape with the ones of Chinese mythical dragons.
Researchers, related they had found the large vertebrae of the dinosaur along with the tail and the skull, but they couldn’t find any remaining from its legs or arms. This lead to local people comparing it to a dragon from ancient Chinese mythology.
The discovery has been published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, and it noted that the animal, is part of a dinosaur species called mamenchisaurids, recognized by their exceptionally long neck, which would reach measuring around 7.5 metres. Most probable this species of dinosaurs have been herbivores.
Scientists admitted that there are many long necked dinosaur species, and the length of their neck is usually 30% of the body length. But the neck of the newly discovered one, has a length of almost 50% of its body.
Is not very often when researchers are lucky enough to find the skeleton with the head attached to the neck, and this situations occurs in only about 5% of the fossils that are discovered.
The chances are, that this species could have lived only in China, because of they were surrounded by an ancient shallow sea, and they weren’t able to cross it, so they lived in a very isolated environment.
The skeleton of the giant, has been housed in a local museum from Qijiang.
Image Source: Science Daily