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Dinosaurs are well known to society thanks to Jurassic Park. A long neck dinosaur may seem like nothing special, because there are many types, some are called ‘Brachiosaurus’ or ‘Brontosaurus’ and these were in Jurassic Park. While the Brachiosaurus have long giraffe-like neck, the long neck dinosaur found in China was not a Brachiosaurus; instead, it is being referred to as a Mamenchisaurus.
The difference between the long necks in the Jurassic Park movie and the recently discovered one is that the recently discovered long neck dinosaur has a much longer neck. The well-known long neck dinosaurs belong to the sauropods family and have necks a third the size of their body. The recently discovered long neck belongs to the Mamenchisaurids which can have necks half the size of their body, lengthwise.
A ‘dragon’ with an awkwardly long neck length was discovered in Qijanlong, China. People are speculating that this is what mythic dragons are based on naming this ‘Dragon of Qijang.’ Almost 24 meters in length, with half of the length in its neck, researchers are speculating that the dinosaur roamed what is now Qijanlong almost 160 million years ago.
The people whom unearthed the prehistoric animal were construction workers. The locals thought it was a dragon because its shape represented that of a Chinese mythical dragon. This speculation was all because they had found the long neck dinosaur’s vertebrae attached with the skull and the tail, but could not find bones from the hands or legs.
Nowhere else on the planet has longer necks than found in China. Tesuto Miyashita, Ph.D. student, at the University of Alberta, explained to Utah Peoples Post that the area in China shows that the diversification of long-necked dinosaurs in Asia was special and that there was something unique happening in that continent.
The mystery still remains as to why the long necks did not move, leading to believe there was some sort of barrier that the obstructed their path. The fossils of the longer-than-normal neck dinosaur are currently being held in a museum in Qijang eventually to be built in a city that is currently being built.
The Mamenchisaurus, has an unusually light neck because it is filled with air. The neck is supposedly more adapted to up and down movements rather than side to side. The discovery of the longer-than-normal long neck was full of air; this is why the heads are usually not attached when they are discovered.
Phillip Currie, also at the University of Alberta, said the African elephant is the largest land animal on earth today. Full-grown elephants are ‘immune’ to predators; this is not entirely true because large packs of lions have been known to prey on the a full grown elephant. The long necks were the largest land animals of their day and so it is reasonable to say that they were nearly immune.
The Mamenchisaurus had the largest neck to body ratio, but was not the largest long neck dinosaur; that title goes to the Supersaurus, who had about a 15 meter neck while the Mamenchisaurus had a 12 meter neck. The unusually long neck to body ratio may have been an adaptation to reach higher than the rest.
By Jacob Dowd
The WestSide Story
Photo by Derek Σωκράτης Finch – License
Photo by Dan McKay – License