169-mln-yr-old new-species stegosaur fossil discovered in China

Source: People's daily online

A stegosaurus fossil dating back 169 million years has been found in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

The fossil has been excavated from a large fossil site in Yunyang County. Chinese and British paleontologists have identified the fossil as a new species of stegosaur, according to the municipal bureau of planning and natural resources.

"It's the oldest stegosaur ever found in Asia and one of the earliest unearthed in the world," said Dai Hui, a researcher with Chongqing Bureau of Geology and Minerals Exploration.

Judging from the newly unearthed fossils that include back, shoulder, feet and rib bones as well as armor plates, the new species was about 3 meters long and 2 meters tall, with two pairs of big bone spurs at the end of its tail.

China is rich in stegosaurus species, accounting for about 40 percent of that in the world. Stegosaurus fossils are mainly distributed in Sichuan, Chongqing, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, and Tibet, according to Dai.

The researchers gave it the name "Bashanosaurus Primitivus." "Bashan" is the ancient name for the area of Chongqing, and the Latin word "primitivus" is for "first."

"The Bashanosaurus Primitivus provides new physical evidence for the study of the origin of the stegosaurus," said Dai.

A research paper on the discovery was published Friday in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.