China / Society

New dinosaur species fossil discovered in NW China

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-06 17:17

BEIJING -- A team of international scientists has unearthed the fossil of a new species of pterosaur and its eggs, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on Friday.

The fossils were discovered in Hami prefecture in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and date back to the Early Cretaceous period, said Wang Xiaolin, a researcher with the CAS who is in charge of the excavation.

The pterosaurs were sexually dimorphic, and five of their eggs are three-dimensionally preserved, marking a first worldwide.

Before their discovery, there had only been four flattened, two-dimensionally preserved pterosaur eggs.

The team has named the new species Hamipterus tianshanensis after the place they were found.

"Most of the fossils are relatively intact, and this is favorable for assembly of a complete pterosaur skeleton," Wang said.

These fossils will shed new light on the reproduction, development, and behavior of pterosaurs, according to Wang.

The new findings were published in the international core journal Current Biology in cooperation with Brazilian paleontologist Alexander Kellner and other scientists on Thursday.

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