Chinese geologists have discovered a fossilized dinosaur belonging to a species first discovered in the world in Lanzhou Basin, northwest China's Gansu Province, and named the dinosaur Lanzhoumagniden.
Based on the research by Gansu Provincial Geology and Minerals Bureau and the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences as well as the authentication by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhoumagniden is regarded to belong to a new dinosaur species, living on the earth about 100 million years ago, which has been discovered in the world for the first time. Naming of the dinosaur was announced recently.
Lanzhoumagniden is a kind of plant-eating dinosaur with huge teeth, with the single biggest tooth being 14 cm long and 7.5 cm wide, the biggest known in the world, said Dr. Li Daqing, a research fellow with the No. 3 Geology and Minerals Prospecting Institute of the Gansu Provincial Geology and Minerals Bureau.
Li said, the dinosaur's lower jaw is one meter long, with 14 tooth slots on each side and a single tooth slot is four cm wide, claiming this has also been discovered for the first time in the world.
Judging from its huge jaw and ribs, Li and his colleagues estimated the dinosaur to be 10 meters long and 4.2 meters high, weighing 5,500 kilograms and walking on four feet and sometimes on two feet.
Initial research shows that Lanzhoumagniden is in close link with the Lurdusaurus arenatus of the early Cretaceous period discovered in Africa, both of which belong to the Styracosternans species.
Discovery of the Lanzhoumagniden expands the geological distribution of Styracosternans from Africa to Asia, indicating a close relationship between the African and Asian continents, Li said.
Li and his colleagues first discovered a three-toed footprint of a dinosaur at the Liujiaxia of Yongjing County in 1999 and found a series of footprints of dinosaur in the region later.
They discovered a group of dinosaur footprints, each 150 cm long and 120 cm wide and each step 375 cm long, in the area in September 2000.
In the following two years, Li and his excavation team began exposing fossilized footprints of dinosaurs, uncovering about 1,500 square meters of dinosaur footprints.
To further uncover the relationship between the footprints and dinosaurs, Chinese geologists carried out a survey of fossilized dinosaur skeletons in the Lanzhou Basin, dozens kilometers away from Liujiaxia, where the footprints were found.
They discovered a comparatively intact fossilized dinosaur coccygeal vertebra in the Lanzhou Basin, providing an important clue to the discovery of the Lanzhoumagniden.
During the following excavation in the basin, they uncovered 103 dinosaur fossils, including lower jaw bone, cervical vertebra, back bone, coccygeal vertebra, ischium and pubic bones of a Lanzhoumagniden.
Based on the analysis of properties of rock and deposit, distribution of stratum and fossils of ancient organism, Chinese paleontologists concluded that during the era of the Lanzhoumagniden, Lanzhou Basin was an inland freshwater lake and there was a group of ancient island on the southeast part of the lake. Lanzhou Basin was then located in the sub-tropical region, with warm and humid climate, lush pasture and rich terrestrial organism.
Discovery of the Lanzhoumagniden is of high scientific value in the study of the geographical environment and geologic periods in the Lanzhou Basin and nearby areas in ancient times, Li said.
A research report on the dinosaur by Li and experts with the Chinese Academy of Sciences has been published on the English version of the Geological Bulletin of China in September.