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Palaeontology

'Dragon' dinosaur rewrites the history books

July 26, 2018 | Comment icon 6 comments



The discovery was highly unexpected. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Gerhard Boeggemann
A new species of dinosaur discovered in China has turned what we know of sauropod evolution on its head.
Unearthed in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of northern China, the specimen is particularly unusual - not only because it predates the emergence of huge, long-necked herbivores by 15 million years - but also because such dinosaurs were never thought to have existed in the region at all.

The new species has been named Lingwulong shenqi, meaning "amazing dragon from Lingwu."

It belonged to a subgroup of sauropods known as neosauropods which included Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus.

"We were surprised to find a close relative of Diplodocus in East Asia 174 million years ago," said study co-author Professor Paul Upchurch from University College London.
"It's commonly thought that sauropods did not disperse there until 200 million years ago and many of their giant descendants, reached this region much later, if at all."

The discovery suggests that our understanding of sauropod evolution is wrong.

"Our discovery of Lingwulong demonstrates that several different types of advanced sauropods must have existed at least 15 million years earlier and spread across the world while the supercontinent Pangaea was still a coherent landmass," said Upchurch.

"This forces a complete re-evaluation of the origins and evolution of these animals."

Source: Popular Mechanics | Comments (6)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Orphalesion 4 years ago
Isn't it often considered that the vast majority of extinct species is completely lost to us due to the rare conditions needed for fossilization? So it's really a wonder how much we do know and very fortunate that this new sauropod was discovered!
Comment icon #2 Posted by Silver Surfer 4 years ago
Does it have wings and breath fire? Sensationalising.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Carnoferox 4 years ago
The "dragon" in the title refers to the dinosaur's name, Linwulong, which means "Lingwu dragon" in Mandarin.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Silver Surfer 4 years ago
I want the dragon! You can't handle the dragon!
Comment icon #5 Posted by Ozfactor 4 years ago
Love this and love the name x  
Comment icon #6 Posted by TripGun 4 years ago
I think they may have all the names before they find anything. Starts around 2nd grade with "If I find a dinosaur I'm naming it _______"


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