Dinosaur found in China is Asia’s oldest stegosaurus

This Friday (4), O Digital appearance publicize the discovery in Brazil of the oldest precursor of the dinosaurs in South America. In this same spirit of #flashbackFriday (TBT Friday) The rescue from the past is now a fossilized Stegosaurus found in China which its discoverers say is the oldest species ever found in Asia. More than that: the specimen may be the oldest in the world.

Stegosaurus fossils found in China include bones from the caudal vertebra, coracoid, dorsal vertebra, femur, fibula, metatarsus, ribs, scapula, vertebral column, and tibia. Credit: Dai Hui, Li Ning, Susannah CR Maidment, Wei Guangbiao, Zhou Yuxuan, Hu Xufeng, Ma Qingyu, Wang Xunqian, Hu Haiqian and Peng Guangzhao

An article published Thursday (3) in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology reveals that the dinosaur, which was about 2.8m tall (small for a stegosaurus), lived in the area about 170 million years ago, during the Bajocian phase of the Jurassic period, long before the stegosaurs that we knows to this day.

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According to the study, the spiny-tailed animal could be up to 9 meters long. However, it is unclear whether the specimen found is a Lion cub or just a small adult, but its discovery could tell more about the evolution of the genus Stegosaurus – a process about which very little is known.

Among the remains found were bones from the shoulder, back, thighs, feet, spine and ribs. They were examined by a team of paleontologists led by Dai Hui from the Geological and Mineral Resources Exploration and Development Department in Chongqing, a city in southwest China, and compared with other stegosaur fossils.

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Is the Chinese Stegosaurus a “missing link” between dinosaurs?

According to the results of the analysis, the newly found animal, named Bashanosaurus primitivus (in reference to “Bashan”, the ancient name of the region where it was discovered, and “first”, in Latin), has characteristics common with other stegosaurs. However, some aspects are unique. His shoulder is smaller and less developed, his femur is slightly different, and he has narrower blades – but thicker bases – in the armor that runs from the top of the head to the tip of the cause.

It also has characteristics in common with the first armored (hard-scaled) dinosaurs, which lived about 20 million years earlier. This suggests that Bashanosaurus may be a “missing link” between these older dinosaurs and later stegosaurs.

“Bachanosaurus can be separated from other Middle Jurassic stegosaurs, and it clearly represents a new species,” Hui said. “In addition, our family tree analysis indicates that it is one of the earliest divergent stegosaurs, along with the Chongqing lizard (Chungkingosaurus) and the Huayangosaurus. All were unearthed in the Shaximiao Formation from the Middle and Late Jurassic in China, suggesting that stegosaurs may have originated in Asia.

“The discovery of this Chinese Middle Jurassic stegosaurus adds to a growing body of evidence that the group evolved during the Early Middle Jurassic, or possibly even the Early Jurassic, and as such represents some of the earliest known dinosaurs.” , did he declare. paleontologist Susannah Maidment of the Natural History Museum in London UK. “China appears to have been a hotspot for stegosaur diversity, with many species now known from the Middle Jurassic to the Late Early Cretaceous.”

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