Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 13:57 UK

US dinosaur had Chinese cousin

By Judith Burns
Science and environment reporter, BBC News

dinosaur dig
The Gansu Fossil Research and Development Center dug up the fossil in 2007

Scientists in China say they have identified the first Asian example of a group of dinosaurs previously found only in the Americas and Europe.

Brachiosaurid sauropods were characterised by forelimbs as long or even longer than their hind limbs.

Examples have been found from the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods.

Writing in the Royal Society Journal, Proceedings B, scientists say a fossil from Gansu Province is closely related to American specimens.

The fossil consists of a series of articulated cervical vertebrae and the right pelvic girdle, plus several unidentified bone fragments.

It was dug up in 2007 in Yujinzi Basin in the north west of Gansu province in China.

New species

Hai-Lu You of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences in Beijing and Da-Qing Li of Gansu Provincial Bureau of Geo-exploration and Mineral Development have identified it as a new genus and species of this group of dinosaurs.

The researchers say the specimen is closely related to the Sauroposeidon dinosaur fossils of North America and have named it Qiaowanlong kangxii after a Chinese emperor of the Qing dynasty.

The rock that yielded this dinosaur was formed in the early Cretaceous period, around 100 million years ago.

The scientists say the dinosaur would have been a relatively small sauropod about 12m long, 3m high, and weighing perhaps 10 tonnes.

As a member of the brachiosaurid family, it had a long neck and relatively long forelimbs. Its neck would have been held aloft, rather like that of a giraffe.

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