As a child I (Rob) was fascinated by dinosaurs. I had a small fossil collection, and books on them. I knew every prehistoric period by name and in date order (then!). I had 2-3" plastic dinosaur and prehistoric mammal figures I used to play with. Every year in school I did science reports on dinosaurs. So, I get excited when a new species is discovered and that happened last week in China.
Here's the story from EarthSky.org:
Long-necked dinosaur roamed China 160 million years ago
Scientists report on the discovery in China of a new species of dinosaur – calling Qijianglong – a creature that was “half neck.”
University of Alberta PhD student Tetsuto Miyashita, who was a co-author in the study, was quoted in Science20.com as saying:
Qijianglong is a cool animal. If you imagine a big animal that is half neck, you can see that evolution can do quite extraordinary things.Enjoying EarthSky so far? Sign up for our free daily newsletter today!
It is rare to find a head and neck of a long-necked dinosaur together because the head is so small and easily detached after the animal dies.
China is home to the ancient myths of dragons. I wonder if the ancient Chinese stumbled upon a skeleton of a long-necked dinosaur like Qijianglong and pictured that mythical creature.
The Science20.com post also said:
The new species belongs to a group of dinosaurs called mamenchisaurids, known for their extremely long necks sometimes measuring up to half the length of their bodies. Most sauropods, or long-necked dinosaurs, have necks only about one third the length of their bodies.The Qijianglong skeleton is now housed in a local museum in Qijiang.
Unique among mamenchisaurids, Qijianglong had neck vertebrae that were filled with air, making their necks relatively lightweight despite their enormous size. Interlocking joints between the vertebrae also indicate a surprisingly stiff neck that was much more mobile bending vertically than sideways, similar to a construction crane.
Mamenchisaurids are only found in Asia, but the discovery of Qijianglong reveals that there could be as many differences among mamenchisaurids as there are between long-necked dinosaurs from different continents.
Bottom line: Scientists reported last week (January 26, 2015) on the discovery of a new species of dinosaur called Qijianglong. It’s one of the group of dinosaurs called mamenchisaurids, whose necks sometimes measure up to half the length of their bodies. It was unearthed in Qijiang, a district of the municipality of Chongqing, China, where many other dinosaur fossils have been found.