China's earliest fossils of small carnivorous dinosaurs discovered

16:53, October 09, 2010      

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Fossils of a small carnivorous dinosaur, which lived in the same period with the Lufengosaurus were recently discovered in China's Yunnan Province.(photo:yunnan.cn)


The Dinosaur Mountain in Lufeng witnessed a breakthrough after excavations, restoration and research from scientific investigation staff. Fossils of a small carnivorous dinosaur, which lived in the same period with the Lufengosaurus were recently discovered, and these are currently China's earliest fossils of small carnivorous dinosaurs, according to the Lufeng National Dinosaur and Geological Park in Yunnan Province on Oct. 7.

According to sources, scientific researchers discovered the fossils during scientific investigations and excavation in Dalishu Village of Dinosaur Town in Lufeng County.

This region is located in the outlying regions of the Dinosaur Mountain. The fossils are single dinosaur skeleton fossils with a relevant complete overall shape. The morphogenesis of the skeleton including the skull, vertebrae, rachis and ribs are clear, while the tailbone was damaged.

A research group led by Dong Zhiming, a well-known dinosaur expert in China, studied the fossils and theorized that the dinosaur is more than 1 meter long and 0.7 meters to 0.8 meters tall, and it walked on two feet and has two forelegs and sharp teeth.

Experts have deduced that it was able to run fast and possessed predatory abilities. Therefore, it is a kind of small carnivorous theropod dinosaur and the rock formation in which the fossils were discovered was formed 180 million years ago during the early Jurassic period.

This is the earliest new type of small carnivorous dinosaur fossils that has ever been discovered in China. Meanwhile, research shows that late evolution of this kind of dinosaur may be related to the evolution of birds, and it also has a genetic relationship with the Coelophysis discovered in North America.

The Lufeng Dinosaur Mountain is a place that has the most dense and abundant preserved dinosaur fossils and possesses the highest research value in the world. A total of 34 kinds of dinosaur fossils in 25 genera were discovered here through scientific investigations.

The newly-discovered carnivorous dinosaur fossils are a new kind of dinosaur belonging to a new genus,and are also the second kind of carnivorous dinosaurs after the discovery of the Lufengosaurus. It has important scientific research value for the research of the Yunnan Lufengosaurus' classification, living environment and evolution process as well as the further exploration of the Dinosaur Mountain's mysteries.

Currently, the work of classifying and naming the newly-discovered dinosaur fossils is in progress.

The website yunnan.cn contributes to this report.

By People's Daily Online

(Editor:叶欣)

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