Really old lizards: 180 million year old dinosaur fossils dug up in southern China

Remains of two kinds of the Lufengosaurus genus uncovered in Yunnan province, state media reports

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 December, 2015, 5:52pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 December, 2015, 11:27am

Archaeologists have unearthed two dinosaur fossils estimated to be 180 million years old in the middle of southern China, state-run Xinhua has reported.

Both fossils were found last month during a road construction project in Lufeng county in Yunnan province.

The area has previously been rich with the fossils of Lufengosaurus – a genus of a relatively small dinosaur that walked on its hind legs and lived in the early Jurassic period .

One find has been indentified as L. magnus – a species under the genus – and includes vertebrae and both back legs, the report said.

“The part of the fossil that has remained relatively intact is 5.3 metres long. It’s presumed to be nine metres long in complete length,” Wang Tang, who manages geological heritage in the area, was quoted as saying.

The fossil head was missing, due to the natural weathering on the hills.

The other fossil belonged to L. huenei – a smaller species than L . Magnus – but it was less complete, probably owing to less than ideal preservation conditions when it died, the report said.