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Fossils of new dinosaur species unearthed in Ningxia 2006-08-26 16:54:23

The photo taken on Aug. 25, 2006 shows a dinosaur fossil excavation site in Ningdong Town of Lingwu City, northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. (Xinhua Photo)
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    YINCHUAN, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Muslim farmer from the northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region had never thought in his wildest dream that he could become discoverer of the so-called "national treasure", excavation of which was televised live to all Chinese people by the China Central Television (CCTV) on Saturday afternoon.

    Ma Yun had been catching hedgehogs on a hill of the Lingwu City in April 2004, when he came up with a "brown stone", the diameter of which is some 20 centimeters. He believed that the stone resembled an enormous "limb of some animal", but none of his acquaintances he dragged to the spot was convinced, until five months later he contacted the Lingwu Bureau of Cultural Relics and was told the "stone" could be something more precious: fossil of dinosaur.

    "I have guessed that," said the contented farmer, who was so excited to appear on TV that he cut his long hair.

    It was the maiden live broadcast of dinosaur fossil excavation in China. Fossils of a new dinosaur species were being unearthed in the Lingwu City of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, while hundreds of kilometers away in the Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Asia's largest Mamenchisaurus came out of the ground.

    "We make this live broadcast because the fossils are so precious," said Xu Xing, 37-year-old archaeologist and researcher with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), who was invited as guest by CCTV.

    Eight sauropods, or huge, long-necked herbivorous dinosaurs living in the middle Jurassic period some 160 million years ago, were unearthed in a 3,000-square meter area in Lingwu, said professor Xu.

Editor: Yangtze Yan
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