Huge dinosaur find in China–state media


Agence France-Presse
First Posted 14:38:00 01/26/2009

Filed Under: Science (general), Animals, history

BEIJING — Paleontologists in east China have dug up what they believe is one of the world’s largest group of fossilized dinosaur bones, including the remains of an enormous “platypus,” state press said Tuesday.

Paleontologists have discovered 15 areas near Zhucheng city in Shandong province that contain thousands of dinosaur bones, the Beijing News reported.

“This group of fossilized dinosaurs is currently the largest ever discovered in the world… in terms of area,” the paper cited paleontologist Zhao Xijin of the China Academy of Sciences as saying.

In one area measuring 300 meters by 10 meters, more than 3,000 bones were found, the report said. Since digging began in March scientists have discovered more than 7,600 bones.

Included in the find was the largest “platypus” — or “duckbilled dinosaur” in Chinese — ever discovered measuring nine meters high with a wingspan wider than 16 meters, the report said.

Zhao said the discovery of so many dinosaurs in such a dense area could provide clues on how the animals became extinct towards the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago, the Beijing News said.

Scientists have also identified the remains of ankylosaurus, tyrannosaurus and coelurus, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

Xinhua said paleontologists are expecting to find many more remains in the area, which lies in a region that has produced more than 50 tons of dinosaur fossils since the 1960s.

Plans are being made to set up a fossil park in the area, but local mine operations that were suspended for the dig are eager to resume mining, it said.

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