A large fossilized dinosaur was discovered early this month in central China's Henan Province during exploration by Chinese geologists and paleontologists.
This is the first time a large dinosaur fossil has been found in central China dinosaur expert, Dong Zhiming, told Xinhua on Monday.
Dong, a researcher with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that the fossilized dinosaur was a vegetarian and could be dated back to the early and middle Cretaceous period--about 100 million years ago.
"A rib of the dinosaur is about two meters in length so we can estimate that it was more than 20 meters long," said Dong. The species of the dinosaur had yet to be determined, he added.
The fossilized dinosaur was found in Shaping Village, Liudian Township, Ruyang County of Henan Province. A large number of fossilized dinosaur eggs were found in Xixia County, about 100 kilometers away from the Ruyang County, more than 10 years ago.
The number of the dinosaur eggs in Xixia County accounts for half of the total in China and one third of the total around the world. However, no complete dinosaur fossil had been found in the region previously.
He Mingbo, a leader of the Liudian Township, said for many years local residents believed a kind of "dragon bone stone" could be used to treat wounds. "Many people found these 'dragon bone stones' in fields or on hills," he said.
An 85-year-old villager, surnamed Cao said "I've broken several thousand kilograms of 'dragon bone stones' to sell as traditional medicine over the past decades. I didn't know they were such a precious thing. I'm sorry about that."
Experts said more dinosaur fossils might be found in the region.
Local government has posted notices in the village explaining the fossils to villagers and forbidding their removal and sale.
(Xinhua News Agency March 21, 2006)