Qijiang, China – Researchers from the University of Alberta have concluded that the fossil remains accidentally dug up in 2006 by local farmers seeking a prime fishing spot are that of a new dinosaur that measured up to 15 meters (~50 ft.) in length. The dinosaur belongs to the mamenchisaurids which were noted for having very elongated necks. The type of long-neck dinosaurs most people think of are called sauropods. These land dwellers were popularized in the Don Bluth animated films “The Land Before Time”. However, their necks comprised 33% of their body length. Mamenchisaurids have necks significantly longer than that.
The newly discovered dinosaur has been given the nick name “dragon dinosaur”. It stems from the fact that when originally discovered, locals could not see any legs on it. This gave it the appearance of being a mythical dragon.
The dinosaur is also called “Qijianglong” to attribute its name to the city where it was first discovered. By comparison with other long-neck dinosaurs, this one has 50% of its body length taken up by its neck. A reconstructed dragon dinosaur is now on display in the Qijiang museum. The results of the multi-year study were published in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.