Palaeontologists discovered a 180-million-year old dinosaur skeleton in Lufeng, a county-level city in the Yunnan province of Southwest China. The Jurassic-era fossil is an extremely rare find because it is almost 70 per cent intact. According to Chinese palaeontologists, the skeleton, which was found in a soil layer that dates back to 180 million years, belonged to an eight metres long Lufengosaurus dinosaur. Lufengosaurus is a group of dinosaur species that lived in Southwest China during the early Jurassic period – 195 to 190 million years ago. “The fossil can be seen as a national treasure and the discovery will be considered a shocking event in the history of global palaeontology if we manage to excavate the fossil’s head bones during the next excavation project,” Wang Tao, the chief of the Dinosaur Fossil Conservation and Research Center, Lufeng City, told Global Times.
The fossil was found in a hillside area that has high risks of erosion. To save the rare find from getting damaged, the Dinosaur Fossil Conservation and Research Center of Lufeng City is excavating the fossil.
“According to the fossils we have discovered over the years and based on its tail and thigh bones, this should be a type of a giant Lufengosaurus, which lived during the Early Jurassic period,” Tao added.
In the same city, a skeleton of a three-year-old dinosaur was discovered earlier this year. Unfortunately, scientists were able to recover only a partial skeleton of the juvenile dinosaur, which appeared to be growing really fast before it was fossilised. Scientists could not establish its connection with previously found dinosaur species despite enough material being preserved.
In 2017, scientists recovered evidence of proteins and blood vessels embedded inside the ribs of another Lufengosaurus dinosaur that lived 195 million years ago. The recovered remnants were estimated as the oldest remains of soft tissue ever recovered.