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Last Updated: Friday, 6 July 2007, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK
Dinosaur bones 'used as medicine'
Bones on display at the museum
Some bones are on display at a museum in Henan province
Villagers in central China have been using dinosaur bones as medicine - thinking they were from dragons.

These bones have been dug up, then boiled in soup or ground down to make traditional medicines for decades.

The news emerged this week when scientists displayed some excavated bones at a museum in Henan Province.

"[People] believed that the 'dragon bones' were from dragons flying in the sky," one Chinese scientist told AP news agency.

These 'dragon bones', found in Henan's Ruyang County, were sold for about 4 yuan (50 cents) per kilogram.

"Local people used the bones as medicine to treat conditions such as dizziness and leg cramps," said Zhang Xinliao from Henan Geology Museum.

They were also made into a paste and applied to fractures and other injuries.

Dinosaur bones (file image)
Scientists said villagers had been using dinosaur bones for years

"Some locals even made a business out of collecting the bones. One had collected up to 8,000 kg," Mr Zhang added.

Bones displayed this week at the museum were from an 18m-long plant-eating dinosaur.

These dinosaurs are 85 to 100 million years old.

Scientists have spent the last two years unearthing and cleaning the bones, which belonged to Asia's heaviest dinosaur.

Mr Zhang said the museum planned to put them together and display them later this year.


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