The amazing dragon of Lingwu

The photo above shows the partially excavated fossil skeleton of a newly discovered species of diplodocoid dinosaur in the Lingwu region of China. Dubbed Lingwulong shenqi (the Lingwu amazing dragon), the fossils are around 174 million years old.

The finds provide evidence that diplodocoid dinosaurs were distributed across the supercontinent Pangaea, according to a paper published in Nature Communications

Sauropods were long-necked, herbivorous dinosaurs and among the longest and largest land animals to have lived. It has been thought that advanced sauropods, the neosauropods, diversified during the breakup of Pangaea and had not reached East Asia before it became isolated.

Evolutionary and biogeographic analyses including the new species now suggest that neosauropods were already diverse and widespread in the Middle Jurassic (about 174 to 163 million years ago), rather than rapidly becoming dominant at the transition to the Late Jurassic (163 to 145 million years ago) as previously thought. Furthermore, major sauropod groups may have originated in the Early Jurassic.

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