New Dinosaur Species Found in Eastern China – Zhejiangosaurus

A joint Japanese and Chinese team of palaeontologists have announced the discovery of a new dinosaur species that roamed eastern China approximately 100 mya (the Albian stage mid Cretaceous).  The animal was found in the south-western region of Zhejiang province, when workmen building a road in 2000 close to the city of Lishui unearthed the first of a series of well preserved bones.

Map Showing Location of Zhejiang Province

The red area marks Zhejiang Province, a coastal region bordering the East China Sea.

Post cranial bones, parts of the pelvis, the two hind-limbs plus tail and back vertebrae were recovered from the site, enough to permit the scientists to identify this as a brand new species of dinosaur.  The animal has been named Zhejiangosaurus lishuiensis (in honour of the province and the nearby city).  It was a Nodosaurid, an armoured dinosaur similar to the better known Ankylosaurs but without the characteristic tail club.  The animal believed to be a fully grown adult was over 6 metres long but with a squat gait, typical of a Nodosaur only reaching a height of 1 metre at the shoulders.

A Drawing of a Typical Nodosaur

Typical Nodosaur

Drawing courtesy of Everything Dinosaur

This peaceful herbivore is a rare find.  Nodosaurs are much better known from North America with very finds from what was eastern Laurasia, the only other Chinese Nodosaur remains found to date are from the Henan province in central China.

The team’s work has just been published in an English language academic quarterly magazine produced by the Geological Society of China.  The fossils (classification code ZNHM M8718), are on display at the Zhejiang Provincial Museum of Natural History and it is hoped that a life size reconstruction of Zhejiangosaurus will be added to the exhibit in the near future.

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