Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More Dinos From China

From the People’s Daily Online:

A large fossilized dinosaur has recently been discovered in Central China's Henan Province during an exploration by Chinese geologists and paleontologists. This is the first time a large dinosaur fossil has been found in Central China, Dong Zhiming, a dinosaur expert, told Xinhua on Monday.

Dong, a researcher with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that the fossilized dinosaur was a vegetarian and could be dated back to the early and middle Cretaceous period, or about 100 million years ago.

"A rib of the dinosaur we found is about 2 meters long so we can estimate that the dinosaur was more than 20 meters long," said Dong. The species of the dinosaur is yet to be determined, Dong added.

The fossilized dinosaur was found in Shaping Village, Liudian Township, Ruyang County of Henan Province. A large number of fossilized dinosaur eggs were found in Xixia County, about 100 kilometers away from the Ruyang County, more than 10 years ago.

The number of the dinosaur eggs in Xixia County accounts for half of the total in China and one third of the total around the world. However, no complete dinosaur fossil had been found in the region previously.

He Mingbo, a leader of the Liudian Township, said for many years local residents believed a kind of "dragon bone stone" could be used to treat wounds. "Many people have found such kind of 'dragon bone stones' in fields or on hills," He said.

An 85-year-old villager, surnamed Cao, said "I have broken several thousand kilograms of 'dragon bone stones' to sell as traditional medicine over the past decades. I didn't know they were such a precious thing. I'm sorry about that."

Experts said more dinosaur fossils might be found in the region. Local government has posted notices in the village explaining fossils to villagers and forbidding the stealing and selling of fossils.