Paleontologists in China have discovered a skeleton from the Jurassic period that represents 70% of a complete dinosaur.
The 180-million-year-old fossil was discovered towards the end of last month in the city of Lufeng, in the province of Yunnan in southern China.
The dinosaur is believed to have been nearly eight metres in length and walked the earth in the Jurassic period, which took place between 201.3 million to 145 million years ago.
As the skeleton was discovered in an area that experiences soil erosion, staff with the Dinosaur Fossil Conservation and Research Center are carrying out emergency excavations to help prevent any damage to the remaining bones.
Wang Tao, the director of the Dinosaur Fossil Conservation and Research Center, said the bones should be considered as a ‘national treasure’ because it is so unusual to find a fossil so intact.
He commented, ‘Such a highly complete dinosaur fossil is a rare find around the world.’
Based on previous discoveries and analysis of the skeleton’s tail and thigh bones, Wang suggested the fossil may be ‘a type of giant Lufengosaurus that lived during the Early Jurassic period’. If the team are able to uncover the dinosaur’s fossilised skull during their excavations, the director said it would be a ‘shocking event’ in paleontology.
Images from the excavation site show numerous people working to excavate the dinosaur, showing its huge scale in comparison to the humans. Workers could be seen delicately brushing the red soil away from the fossils to uncover as much of the skeleton as possible from where it lay embedded in the ground.
According to the Natural History Museum, the Lufengosaurus was thought to have been a sauropod; very large herbivores that mostly walked on four legs. The species has been named colloquially as ‘Lufeng Lizards’, and appears to be only found in China.
Featured Image Credit: AsiaWire
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]