A team of researchers related to multiple institutions in China, one in Argentina and one in Belgium, has identified the fossil remains of two previously unknown dinosaurs in China. In their papers published in the journal PergerThe team described these fossils, provided the names of the new dinosaurs, and provided possible clues to explain their excellent preservation.
The new dinosaur was actually discovered by farmers in Liaoning Province, northeast China. They found the remains of two identical new species, which the researchers named Liaoning camphor. Both are in pristine condition. The name means “eternal sleeper” in Chinese because the two dinosaurs seem to be buried while alive, with their eyes closed as if they were sleeping. Researchers believe that the reason for the rapid death and close to primitive state is likely to be the volcanic eruption that caught them while sleeping in the cave. The area where the dinosaurs were found was part of the plain, which was covered by debris from an ancient large-scale volcanic eruption that also covered many other creatures. The area is a famous archaeological excavation site.
When alive, the two dinosaurs were only more than one meter in length, and their tails were long and nearly uncurved. They are early ornithopods, a dinosaur, their hind legs walk upright, like rabbits in the crypt foraging. They also have a shovel-shaped snout, which will help to dig quickly and efficiently. The neck and forearms are short and strong, and its shoulder blades are similar to those of modern burrowing animals. Researchers believe that the cave where the dinosaur sleeps may have collapsed under the weight of the volcanic remains, so that the dinosaur has no chance to dig on its own. They also noticed that due to the stiffness, the dinosaur’s tail had stretched out. They also found a small piece of rock near the stomach of one of the specimens, indicating that the dinosaurs swallowed them like modern birds to help digest food.
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Yang Yuqing et al. A new basal ornithopod dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of China, Accompany (2020). DOI: 10.7717 / peerj.9832
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