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Fossils of New Dinosaur Species Unearthed in Northwest China

Fossils of a new dinosaur species have been unearthed near Lingwu City in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, said experts on Saturday afternoon.


Eight sauropods, or huge, long-necked herbivorous dinosaurs living in the middle Jurassic period some 160 million years ago, were unearthed in a 3,000-square meter area, said Xu Xing, a researcher with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).


The 37-year-old Professor Xu, who has named 15 new dinosaur species, believes that the dinosaur is a sub-species of diplodocus, mainly found in the southern hemisphere in places like Tanzania and Argentina. Other diplodocus fossils have been found in North America. Discovery of the species in Asia could support the Continental Drift Theory, according to which the African, American and Asian continents used to be connected.


The fossils were found by local Muslim farmer Ma Yun in September 2004, when he was catching hedgehogs on a hill in Nanciwan Village in Lingwu.


Experts are asking the public to suggest a name for the dinosaur. Some said it should be named after its discoverer Ma Yun, while others thought Lingwu was the best choice.


Meanwhile, a complete dinosaur cranium fossil has been unearthed in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.


The excavations are being televised nationwide by China Central Television (CCTV). It is the first time a dinosaur fossil excavation has been filmed live in China.


(Xinhua News Agency August 26, 2006)

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