Canadian paleontologists have discovered a new species of long necked dinosaur in Central China. The discovery has been described in the “Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.” Construction workers at a site near Quijang City in 2006 were surprised to find the remains of a dinosaur at the site. The dinosaur was christened Qijianglong (“dragon of Quijang”). The sauropod was huge with a neck measuring 25 feet which constituted 50% of its entire body.
Remarked team leader, Philip Currie of the University of Alberta, “As far as I know, there are no more bones in the field of this dinosaur.”
The scientists were very excited with the discovery because the head and the neck of the creature were intact, a rare occurrence since the small cranium was prone to detach easily after the creature’s death.
Currie told FoxNews.com, “It had already been collected, prepared and was laid out on tables. This region of China has lots of dinosaur fossils, including skeletons, bonebeds and footprints. The preservation is quite nice, and we were asked to help describe it.”
The Qijianglong is a mamenchisaurus and roamed in China some 160 million years age. While majority of the sauropods had necks which constituted up to one third of the body’s entire length. However Qijianglong is different in the sense that its neck vertebrae are filled with air, making it a much lighter load to carry. The interlocking joints made it much easier for the sauropod to move its neck with more ease horizontally rather than sideways. It made munching leaves from extremely tall much easier. There incredible size made it immune to any attack by carnivores.
Currie says, “I suspect that once they were mature, they were probably immune to the attacks of predators the way elephants are today. However, like elephants (which are hunted in some parts of Africa by large prides of lions), they were probably never completely immune to attack. And as juveniles, there is some evidence to suggest that the adults stayed with and protected them.”