Fossils of new species of N American dinosaur family found in China

15:08, August 30, 2010      

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Researchers discovered fossils of a new species of dinosaur from the Ceratopsidae family recently during excavation work in Zhucheng, Shandong Province.

Xu Xing, researcher and dinosaur expert at the Institute of the Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, named this new species the "Chinese Zhucheng Ceratopsian."

Xu believes that the fossils of the "Chinese Zhucheng Ceratopsian" are the only genuine ceratopsian fossils ever found outside North America.

Its discovery has shaken the foundation of the entire Ceratopsidae dinosaur taxonomy and evolutionary relationships, blurred the differences between centrosaurus and chasmosaurus and provided a great deal of information about how non-Ceratopsidae dinosaurs evolved into Ceratopsidae dinosaurs.

In addition, its discovery has also filled up a gap in the ceratopsian research and will have a big impact on dinosaur biogeography.

Zhucheng is home to the Upper Cretaceous dinosaur fossils, which is represented by the large hadrosaurs. More than 30 dinosaur fossil sites have been found here with an area of 1,500 square kilometers.

So far, the number species of dinosaurs discovered here has reached 10, including three species of dinosaurs from the Ceratopsidae family, three species of dinosaurs from the Tyrannosauridae family, two species of dinosaurs from the Hadrosauridae family as well as the ankylosaurs and coelurosaurs.

Zhucheng has undergone two large-scale scientific excavations of dinosaur fossils since the 1960s, and the dinosaur skeleton fossils discovered are all large dinosaurs from the Hadrosauridae family, which were named "Shantungosaurus giganteus" and "Zhuchengosaurus," respectively.

By People's Daily Online


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