Fossils of a diplodocoid sauropod dinosaur found more than a decade ago in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of northwestern China have been identified as belonging to a new species.
Lingwulong shenqi who lived about 174 million years ago (Middle Jurassic), is the earliest known example of a sauropod dinosaur, called Neosacopod.
Sauropod dinosaurs originated in the environment However, 200 million years ago, they began to dominate terrestrial ecosystems by developing giant body sizes and making new adaptations to the production and processing of plant foods.
It was believed that these vast Neasacopod descendants originated 1
"We were surprised to find a near 174 million years ago in East Asia To find relatives of Diplodocus "said Professor Paul Upchurch from the Department of Earth Sciences at University College London, United Kingdom.
"It is generally believed that sauropods only spread 200 million years ago and many others there their vast descendants reached this region much later, if at all."
"Our discovery of Lingwulong shenqi shows that several different species of advanced sauropods existed and spread at least 15 million years earlier around the world, while the supercontinent pangea was still a coherent landmass, forcing a complete reassessment of the origins and evolution of these animals. " For the study, Professor Upchurch and his colleagues analyzed the fossilized skeletons of 7-10 individual dinosaurs found together in rock in 2005.
"We organized four excavations at a new dinosaur site in the Yanan Formation in lower Middle Jurassic in Ciyaopu, Lingwu, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which led to the discovery of fossil material containing 7-10 sub-skeletons (including parts of two) Skulls) included adolescents to adults, "they said.
The new findings also confirm the growing recognition that early Jurassic (200-175 million years ago) existed a key period in dinosaur evolution, witnessing the origins and diversification of many groups that later became the Jurassic and the Cretaceous dominated.
Diplodocus – as Neasacopods never believed they had come to East Asia because this region was cut off from the rest of the world by Jura Seaways, so China developed its own distinctive and separate dinosaur fauna, "Dr. Xing Xu from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
" Lingwulong shenqi shows, however, that these Diplodocus -like sauropods after all, were present and implied that the isolation East Asia was less profound and short-lived than we thought.
The research is p published in the journal Nature Communications
Xing Xu et al . 2018. A new one Mid-Jurassic diplodocoide indicates earlier distribution and diversification of sauropod dinosaurs. Nature Communications 9, Item Number: 2700; doi: 10.1038 / s41467-018-05128-1