If Jurassic World hurries, Chris Pratt can be riding alongside the ‘dragon of Qianjing.’ A new variety of sauropod has been unearthed in the Chinese city of Qijiang. What paleontologists and dinosaur aficionados noticed first is the long neck on the newly discovered dinosaur.
Coming in at 50 feet long, the neck spans half the length of its body. Estimates on when it lived center on the Late Jurassic period – around 160 million years ago. A team from the University of Alberta began excavation in 2006.
Why the dragon moniker? The physical attributes are similar to the mythical creature. Farmers in the area called it Qijianglong ( the dragon of Qijian) because the bone structure resembled the shape of mythical dragons.
No, it wasn’t sitting on a pile of gold to spite a company of dwarfs. It just has that look. Plus, it makes for a great headline.
Research found the dinosaur fossil belonged to a new species of dinosaurs called mamenchisaurids – known for their long necks.
“I wonder if the ancient Chinese stumbled upon a skeleton of a long-necked dinosaur like Qijianglong and pictured that mythical creature,” Tetsuto Miyashita, a paleontologist who worked on the project, said in a statement.
The mechanics of a long neck were relatively easy. Paleontologists speculate the vertebrae in the neck were filled with air, making it lightweight despite its size.
For now, the fossil is on display in a museum in Qijiang. A new museum is being constructed, and the dinosaur will eventually be prominently displayed there.
Read the findings from the team in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.