Chinese construction workers inadvertently unearth new dinosaur species
Construction workers at a high school in southern China inadvertently unearthed a well-preserved skeleton of a dinosaur that roamed the region nearly 66–72 million years ago, University of Edinburgh paleontologists reported.
The skeleton, which came to light when workers used dynamite to break bedrock to prepare ground for constructing a building at the school, has been poetically named Tongtianlong limosus, which means “muddy dragon on the road to heaven.”
It was nicknamed ‘Mud Dragon’ because it had died after becoming mired in mud while attempting to fight its way out of a pool millions of years ago. Over the centuries, the pool of mud turned to rock.
Stephen Brusatte, a paleontologist from University of Edinburgh, said, “This thing was almost blown to smithereens, to the point we would never even have known it existed. Thankfully there were workmen using dynamite that day, and thankfully they put that dynamite at the perfect place so that it revealed instead of destroyed the fossil.”
The fossilized skeleton belonged to an extinct species of dinosaurs that featured two skinny legs and wings. The winged dinosaur belonged to a class known as oviraptorid, which were close cousins to birds, but they weren’t able to fly.
The researchers found a crest of bone on Mud Dragon’s head, which the extinct creature would use to attract mates or scare rivals. The discovery of the well-preserved skeleton is expected to shed more light on the now-extinct huge creatures.
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