New dinosaur, Yueosaurus Tiantaiensis, discovered in China

Scientists have identified a new species of dinosaur, Yueosaurus Tiantaiensis or "Tiantai Yue Dinosaur," from a fossilized skeleton found in eastern China.

According to Xinhua news agency, the fossil was dug up 13 years ago, during the construction of a highway in Tiantai county in Zhejiang province.

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It took five Chinese and Japanese researchers more than three years of intensive study to identify that the skeleton belonged to a separate species, according to geoscientist Zheng Wenjie of the Zhejiang Museum of Natural History.

They believe it is a previously unknown species of ornithischian, or "bird-hipped" dinosaur, that lived during the Cretaceous period some 100 million years ago. It had a beak, ate plants and was able to run fast on two legs to escape predators, Zheng said.

At about 1.5 meters long and less than 1 meter high, Yueosaurus is the smallest dinosaur yet discovered in the province, according to the People's Daily.

Dinosaurs of its type – bipedal, herbivorous runners known as ornithopods – were rare in Asia; previously, only four such species had ever been found on the continent.

Yueosaurus is the fifth new dinosaur species to have been discovered in Zhejiang.

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