Two well-preserved dinosaur fossils dating back more than 130 million years were unearthed in Fengning Man autonomous county, Chengde, North China's Hebei province. They are significantly meaningful for the research of the species' evolutionary history and the environment during the early Cretaceous period, according to a news conference held by the Department of Natural Resources of Hebei on Thursday.
Both of the dinosaurs were herbivorous, with one of them belonging to a more primitive ceratosaurus while the other a stegosaurus.
The ceratosaurus' fossil, measuring about 1 meter in length, was discovered from the early Cretaceous strata. Its bones were nearly intact, revealing it to be bipedal with a little headdress structure. It fills a gap in the evolutionary history and development of the ceratosaurus, according to Zhang Fucheng, a member of the state expert committee on paleontology and fossils.
Measuring about 5 meters long, the stegosaurus fossil is nearly complete and contains both skeleton and skin. It's the first time Hebei has discovered a stegosaurus, which are much larger than other dinosaurs unearthed before in the province.
This might be the most fossilized dinosaur skin found in the world, according to Zhang.
"It is of great significance to help us learn about the body surface characteristics and physiological functions of stegosaurus dinosaurs or even all dinosaurs, as well as the geographical environment and climate of the early Cretaceous period," Zhang said.
The first discovery of the two fossils was in 2017, when two leg bones were found. Excavation and restoration work have been ongoing since then.
At present, the fossils' restoration work has been completed, according to the Department of Natural Resources of Hebei. For the next step, a 3D model of equal scale for them will be made and related research will be underway.