Chinese paleontologists have found an extraordinarily complete Jurassic dinosaur skeleton.
The fossil, found in Lufeng, southwest China, is about 70 percent intact and belongs to a dinosaur believed to have been nearly eight meters in length.
It was found on a dig in late May in soil dating around 180 million years, to the Jurassic period.
Head of the Dinosaur Fossil Conservation and Research Center of Lufeng City Wang Tao said: ‘Such a highly complete dinosaur fossil is a rare find around the world.’
He described the fossil as a ‘national treasure’ and said his team now hoped to excavate the dinosaur’s skull.
‘Based on the fossil was have discovered over the years, on its tail, and thigh bones, we believe this is a type of giant Lufengosaurus, which lived during the Early Jurassic period’, he added.
The center is planning an emergency dig to rescue the skeleton because it was found in a place at risk of soil erosion.
Finding fossils that are as complete as this one in Lufeng is a very rare occurrence in paleontology.
This species made international headlines in 2017 when collagen protein was discovered preserved in the rib of a Lufengosaurus fossil.
The protein was 100 million years older than any previously discovered, the BBC reported at the time.
Scientists also discovered traces of a mineral they think would have been in the animal’s blood.
Lufengosaurus is believed to have been four-legged herbivores and has been named colloquially as ‘Lufeng Lizards’.
Earlier in 2021, the skeleton belonging to a young dinosaur from the same period was discovered in Lufeng.
The fossil was another interesting find by paleontologists in the region as it does not match any other known species of dinosaurs.