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Large Jurassic dinosaur fossil found in Xinjiang

By Cheng Mengyang (Xinhua)

13:57, April 17, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

The largest Jurassic dinosaur fossil in China was recently discovered in Shanshan county, Turpan prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region by an expedition team of experts from Jilin University, Shenyang Normal University, and Xinjiang Geological Survey Institute.

The discovery was announced at a press conference held in Shanshan on April 15 by the expedition team, Xinjiang Regional Department of Land and Resources, and Shanshan county government. Sun Ge, head of the expedition team and deputy executive director of China Research Society of Paleontology, said that the fossil was discovered in a stratum of the Middle Jurassic period, about 165 million years ago, in the county's Qiktim area.

The unearthed part of the fossil shows that it was a gigantic dinosaur as its femur alone was more than two meters long. The experts estimate that the dinosaur could be 35 meters in length, and weigh 30 tons, becoming the largest Jurassic dinosaur ever found in the country.

Dinosaurs lived on earth for over 160 million years, and were the dominant terrestrial animals throughout the Jurassic period. Prior to this discovery, the largest Jurassic dinosaur found in China was less than 30 meters long.

The expedition team started exploring for fossils in Shanshan last October, as part of a research project with strong support from the Ministry of Education and the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs as well as approval from the Ministry of Land and Resources.

Turpan is rich in fossils such as petrified wood and the fossils of dinosaurs, turtles, and fish. In the 1960s, the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences sent an expedition team to Turpan, where Dong Zhiming and other paleontologists found several fossilized dinosaurs of great research value such as shanshanosaur, Chiayusaurus, and H. sinojapanorum.

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