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02:42

Chicken-sized dinosaur that fed on lizards and insects discovered in China

China, Nan'an
December 30, 2019 at 20:43 GMT +00:00 · Published

A team of international researchers headed by a Chinese paleontologist announced on November 26 the discovery of a species of dinosaur that lived in northern China in the early Cretaceous period. Models of the 'Xunmenglong Yingliangis' dinosaur and associated fossils were exhibited at the Yingliang Stone Natural History Museum in Nan'an on Monday.

"It's the first time this kind of little dinosaur fossils has been found in Fengning," said Niu Kecheng, executive director of Yingliang Stone Natural History Museum. He added "an enthusiast bought it. Then he showed us the fossils specimen (...) It turned out that it's a new species that hadn't been discovered yet [in the region]."

The dinosaur, which lived about 150 million years ago, was the "size of a chicken," said Niu, who added that "its tail accounted for more than half of its body. It had highly developed legs which are longer than a chicken's. If we add a mouth, teeth and then a long tail like those to a chicken, they will look similar."

Despite its small size, the dinosaur, which belongs to the Compsognathus species, was a genus of the carnivorous dinosaur, and fed on some "small lizards, reptiles, or some insects," explained Niu.

Relations of the 'Xunmenglong yingliangis', or the agile and ferocious dinosaur of Yingliang as described in Chinese, had only been found in France and Germany before the recent discovery in China. It is believed to be the earliest and smallest species of Compsognathus found in Asia.

02:42
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Description

A team of international researchers headed by a Chinese paleontologist announced on November 26 the discovery of a species of dinosaur that lived in northern China in the early Cretaceous period. Models of the 'Xunmenglong Yingliangis' dinosaur and associated fossils were exhibited at the Yingliang Stone Natural History Museum in Nan'an on Monday.

"It's the first time this kind of little dinosaur fossils has been found in Fengning," said Niu Kecheng, executive director of Yingliang Stone Natural History Museum. He added "an enthusiast bought it. Then he showed us the fossils specimen (...) It turned out that it's a new species that hadn't been discovered yet [in the region]."

The dinosaur, which lived about 150 million years ago, was the "size of a chicken," said Niu, who added that "its tail accounted for more than half of its body. It had highly developed legs which are longer than a chicken's. If we add a mouth, teeth and then a long tail like those to a chicken, they will look similar."

Despite its small size, the dinosaur, which belongs to the Compsognathus species, was a genus of the carnivorous dinosaur, and fed on some "small lizards, reptiles, or some insects," explained Niu.

Relations of the 'Xunmenglong yingliangis', or the agile and ferocious dinosaur of Yingliang as described in Chinese, had only been found in France and Germany before the recent discovery in China. It is believed to be the earliest and smallest species of Compsognathus found in Asia.

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