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A Chinese fossil find tells a new story about the ancient supercontinent Pangaea. Meet the amazing dragon of Lingwu. This astonishing fossil is a new species of diplodocoid dinosaur that was discovered in the Lingwu region in the northwest of China. Officially named Lingwulong shenqi, the species were long-necked herbivores that lived in the east of the supercontinent Pangaea 174 million years ago.
A shepherd first stumbled across some enormous bones back in 2004, and since then the remains of between seven and 10 dragons have been found across several quarries. Though each find has some parts missing, between the lot of them, almost a complete skeleton can be assembled. (The dragon in the picture is one of the most complete specimens.)
In a paper in Nature Communications, Xing Xu and colleagues have named the species and found its place in the dinosaur family tree. It is the oldest diplodocoid ever found, and also the first ever found in East Asia.
Previously, palaeontologists believed a sea had split Pangaea during the Jurassic, preventing many species of dinosaur from reaching Asia. L. shenqi suggests that diplodocoids, at least, had spread across the supercontinent before the split occurred.