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Question Your World: Are There Still New Species Being Discovered?

For a long time we've been fascinated by dinosaurs. Makes total sense, they're awesome, some were huge, some were tiny, and they certainly rile up the imagination. But, are there still new species being discovered? Listen to this Question Your World radio report produced by the Science Museum of Virginia to learn more.

All the way back in the late 1800' Edward Cope and Othniel Marsh ushered in the bone wars. This was a very competitive back and forth between their respective institutions to excavate the most dinosaur fossils possible. This rivalry yielded many of the earliest dinosaur fossils found. A majority of this dig happened in the Rocky Mountains, but the impacts were felt all over the world. These massive and extinct creatures challenged a lot of the previous understanding we had about the history of our planet long before humans were around. Since then we seem to have caught dino-mania! The Land Before Time, Jurassic Park, Mario's Yoshi, and the phrase "Not The Mama" are all a part of our lives because we are really curious about these beasts from the past.

Recently, yet another species was announced as a result of a dig in China. These bones were first excavated a few years ago, but paleontologists like Liguo Li of the University of Pennsylvania have just recently pieced together some information and put together what seem to be the makings of a brand new species of dinosaur. Ladies and gents please say hello to the most recent addition to the dino family, Youngjinglong. This creature was named after the county where the bones were discovered.

Yongjinglong is a Sauropod like its more well-known cousin Brachiosaurus, but this one is definitely bigger! The fossil remains indicate that it must have been about 50 to 60 feet in length. Also, this specimen is definitely not the mama; the bones indicate that this was a juvenile. There's a chance that the full adult grown versions were even bigger! One of the many results of this excavation is a better understanding of the distribution and longevity of these creatures from the Jurassic through the Cretaceous. This also further helps us understand the vast diversity of species that existed on this planet for millions upon millions of years long before humans came around. Really, the only type of dinosaur that didn't exist is the kind that got into astronomy.

Article by: Prabir Mehta Science Museum of Virginia

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