200-mln-yr-old juvenile dinosaur fossil discovered in SW China


Photo taken in December 2019 shows the juvenile dinosaur fossil dating back about 200 million years. (Photo taken by Claire Peyre de Fabrègues with Yunnan University)

A team of Chinese paleontologists discovered an early-Jurassic fossil of a young dinosaur in southwest China's Yunnan Province.

The specimen was about 1.7 meters long, and the shape of its teeth suggested the dinosaur was herbivorous, according to the study published in the journal Acta Geologica Sinica.

Bone histological studies showed that the dinosaur was about three years old, said Bi Shundong with Yunnan University, an author of the research.

The bones of juvenile dinosaurs are slender and not easily preserved in the stratum, so researchers knew little about their morphological characteristics, Bi said.


Simulated image of the juvenile dinosaur fossil dating back about 200 million years. (Image photo drawn by Wang Xiaodong with the Yunnan Arts University)

The research team inferred that the dinosaur may have drowned in flooding, allowing for most of its bones to be completely preserved.

It was also revealed that the specimen may belong to a new genus of sauropod dinosaurs.

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