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Little known to the outside world, China is home to some of the most spectacular dinosaur museums and fossil sites on Earth.
Fossil of Gasosaurus constructus from the Middle Jurassic at the Zigong Dinosaur Museum. This 3.5m killer pre-dated giant flesh-eaters such as Yangchuanosaurus. Although it was small, large claws on its hands and feet would have made it a formidable adversary.
This metre-long skull of allosaur relative Yangchuanosaurus is one of the best-preserved skulls of a large carnivorous dinosaur in the world.
Half-exposed dinosaur fossils at the open dig site in the Zigong Dinosaur Museum in Sichaun, China.
Zigong’s Dashanpu Quarry had yielded 200 nearly complete specimens and 26 new species of dinosaur since the 1970s.
Szechuanosaurs zigongensis was a medium sized carnivorous theropod from the Middle Jurassic. It was found at Zigong in China and described in 1993.
Mamenchisaurus youngi was a giant sauropod from the Late Jurassic of China. It is among the largest of all Chinese dinosaurs, and had an incredibly long neck, making up more than half the total body length.
Fossil of Mamenchisaurus youngi.
Other animals such as this small marine reptile have also been found in great numbers at Zigong.
Datousaurus bashanensis was a 15m long herbivorous sauropod from the Middle Jurassic of China. It was described in 1984 from several specimens found at Zigong’s Dashanpu quarry.
The teeth of Lufengosaurus have the distinctive shape of a herbivore’s.
World Dinosaur Valley at Lufeng in China’s Yunnan province has a theme park as well as an incredile dinosaur museum.
The specimens of Shunosaurus lii at the Zigong Dinosaur Museum. This medium-sized, 10m-long sauropod had a bony club at its tail tip, possibly with spikes attached. The discovery of this feature challenged the idea that sauropods had no active defence capability.
Most of these skeletons are those of primitive prosauropods, ancestors of the giant sauropods (such as Diplodocus and Diamantinasaurus), which would later reach lengths of more than 35m. The Lufeng specimens were yet to develop the same titanic proportions, but already evolution had begun to elongate their necks and sculpt them into the more familiar sauropod body plan.
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