Travelogue: Where dinosaurs once roamed - Ningxia
Updated 11:58, 01-Feb-2019
Megan Zhang, Liu Zhenshuo
00:50

It's a surreal feeling walking around in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region knowing that you're stepping on the very lands where dinosaurs once roamed. In 2004, a farmer in Lingwu, a county-level city in Ningxia discovered a giant thigh bone that was partially buried in the ground. Villagers had long used it as a seat, never thinking it might be part of an ancient skeleton from a species long extinct.

This dinosaur thigh bone trigger a fossil excavation in Lingwu City, NW China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. /CGTN Photo

This dinosaur thigh bone trigger a fossil excavation in Lingwu City, NW China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. /CGTN Photo

British and Chinese researchers later confirmed the bone was a fossil from a previously undiscovered species of dinosaur, belonging to the diplodocoid family. Further excavation in the area revealed whole or partial skeletons from seven to ten dinosaurs. Researchers believe the group of dinosaurs likely died together, as sauropods tended to travel in small herds. The dinosaur was named "Lingwulong shenqi" – which literally means "an amazing Lingwu dragon". As the first diplodocoid found in East Asia and, at 174 million years old, it is also the oldest diplodocoid fossil ever discovered. 

The first diplodocoid fossil found in East Asia is 174 million years old. /CGTN Photo

The first diplodocoid fossil found in East Asia is 174 million years old. /CGTN Photo

Paleontologists had long believed that an inland sea on the supercontinent Pangea made it impossible for diplodocoids to cross into present-day Asia, but the discovery of Lingwulong shenqi proves the sea may not have been as significant of a barrier as previously theorized. Some of the discovered skeletons are on display at Lingwu Museum. 

The discovery of these fossils has led to continued interest in the connection to dinosaurs of Lingwu City, NW China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. /CGTN Photo

The discovery of these fossils has led to continued interest in the connection to dinosaurs of Lingwu City, NW China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. /CGTN Photo

Explore Ningxia with Tianran He, host of Travelogue on CGTN. The show broadcasts on Sundays at 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Mondays 2:00 a.m. and Thursdays 1:30 p.m. (Beijing Time).

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