About ten years ago, a Chinese farmer bumped into some dinosaur fossils that could rewrite the dinosaurs’ evolution as we know it. The so-called “amazing dragon” found in China could shed new light upon the history of giant dinosaurs that crawled on Earth millions of years ago.
Although the discovery was made about a decade ago, only now the researchers published a study report on the findings in the Nature Communications journal. Accordingly, the fossils belonged to the most ancient diplodocoid ever discovered and the first ever found in eastern Asia.
Diplodocoids belonged to the sauropod subgroup, the most ancient herbivore dinosaurs on the planet, possessing four legs and a very long neck to grab the leaves and fruits from tall trees. However, the so-called “amazing dragon” fossils found by the Chinese farmer ten years ago belonged to until-then-unknown species, dubbed as the Lingwulong Shenqi, which in Mandarin means “amazing dragon in Lingwu.”
The “amazing dragon” found in China could rewrite dinosaurs’ evolution as it is the most ancient one in its family
Lingwulong shenqi dinosaur fossils are about 175-million-year old, meaning that they appeared with approximately 15 million years before the earliest known specimen of its species. This means that actually, a large number of different sauropod groups must have evolved a lot earlier than previously realized,” said Philip Mannion, the study’s leading author and a paleontologist at the Imperial College of London.
Additionally, the “amazing dragon” discovery in East Asia revealed that giant dinosaurs reached East Asia before the supercontinent Pangea split apart.
“Diplodocus-like neosauropods were thought to have never made it to East Asia because this region was cut off from the rest of the world by Jurassic seaways so that China evolved its own distinctive and separate dinosaur fauna,” asserted Xu Xing, researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the study’s leading author.
The new study report on the “amazing dragon of Lingwu,” or the Lingwulong shenqi, shows that our knowledge of dinosaurs’ evolution still presents significant gaps.
Erin VanDyke lives on her family farm and has more than 35 years of hands-on experience with the use of livestock guard dogs for predator control. On their farm, Jan and her family use corgis as herding dogs and have raised Shetland sheep, Fainting goats, Morgan and Trakehner horses, and historic breeds of chickens and turkeys. Erin is also an active beekeeper.