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Skeleton found 'could be new species of dinosaur'

Paleontologists in China may have discovered the remains of a new species of dinosaur at what is said to be the world's largest group of fossilised dinosaur bones.

A Chinese worker uncovers a piece of bone at a gully that is strewn with thousands of dinosaur bones in Zhucheng.
A Chinese worker uncovers a piece of bone at a gully that is strewn with thousands of dinosaur bones in Zhucheng.

Paleontologists in east China may have discovered the remains of a new species of dinosaur at what is said to be the world's largest group of fossilised dinosaur bones, the country's state media said today. Scientists in Zhucheng city, Shandong province, have for months been exploring a gully over 500 metres long and 26 metres deep that is strewn with thousands of dinosaur bones, the Jilu Evening News said.

Paleontologists believe that a fossilised skeleton dug up in Zhucheng and shipped to the China Academy of Sciences in Beijing last week could be a new species of dinosaur. They have already dug up the "duck-billed dinosaur" ? and found Asia's first remains of a ceratopsidae, or a giant horned dinosaur. The trove of dinosaur bones lies in an area in Shandong that has been known for numerous similar finds, with two major digs taking place in the region since 1964, the report said.

Experts said the discovery of so many dinosaurs in such a dense area could provide clues on how the animals became extinct millions of years ago, it added. Scientists at the dig have also identified the remains of ankylosaurus, tyrannosaurus and coelurus, with many of the fossils dating to about 70 million years ago, reports said. Plans are being made to set up a fossil park in the area, it said.

* AFP