George Washington University biologist discovers new dinosaur in China

Posted By News On May 3, 2013 - 5:00pm
George Washington University biologist discovers new dinosaur in China

WASHINGTON – Fossil remains found by a George Washington University biologist in northwestern China have been identified as a new species of small theropod, or meat-eating, dinosaur.

The discovery was made by James Clark, the Ronald B. Weintraub Professor of Biology, in the Department of Biological Sciences of GW's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Clark, along with his then doctoral student Jonah Choiniere and a team of international researchers, found the dinosaur specimen in a remote region of Xinjiang in China in 2006.

In a research paper published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, Drs. Clark and Choiniere explain recovering the skull, mandible and partial skeleton of the dinosaur. The new theropod was an estimated 1 meter or just over 3 feet long and probably weighed about 3 pounds.

"All that was exposed on the surface was a bit of the leg," said Dr. Clark. "We were pleasantly surprised to find a skull buried in the rock too."

The dinosaur is named Aorun zhaoi, after the Dragon King in the Chinese epic tale Journey to the West. It wasn't necessarily a small dinosaur species, though, because Aorun was still a youngster when it became a fossil.

This shows fossil remains found by a George Washington University biologist in northwestern China have been identified as a new species of small theropod, or meat-eating, dinosaur.

The discovery was made by James Clark, Professor of Biology,at GW's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Clark, along with his then doctoral student Jonah Choiniere and a team of international researchers, found the dinosaur specimen in a remote region of Xinjiang in China in 2006.

In a research paper published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, Drs. Clark and Choiniere explain recovering the skull, mandible and partial skeleton of the dinosaur. The new theropod was an estimated 1 meter or just over 3 feet long and probably weighed about 3 pounds.

(Photo Credit: James Clark, George Washington University)

"We were able to look at microscopic details of Aorun's bones and they showed that the animal was less than a year old when it died on the banks of a stream," said Dr. Choiniere.

Dr. Choiniere, now a senior researcher at the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, was a doctoral student in Biological Studies at GW when the discovery was made. He was also a Kalbfleisch Fellow and Gerstner Scholar at the American Museum of Natural History.

Aorun lived more than 161 million years ago, in the earliest part of the Late Jurassic Period. Its small, numerous teeth suggest that it would have eaten prey like lizards and small relatives of today's mammals and crocodilians.

This is the fifth new theropod discovered at the Wucaiwan locality by the team, co-led by Dr. Clark and Dr. Xu Xing of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Wow, its amazing to think how many more dinosaur's layout there undiscovered waiting to be found. To find it by just seeing a "bit of the leg" is amazing as well.

I am amazed as to how the Chinese leader of the team was not mentioned until the end of the article. This whole thing just smacks of jingoism.

agreed

Not jingo-ism, the Chinese don't notify western media and George Washington University does.

I'd hold off on the charge of jingoism until I found out whether the Chinese academy's report prominently mentions the Americans.

The white man thinks every thing is his discovery. The actual discovery was made by the Chinese scientists, and the white people take credit for them. Look around us. Every scientific invention is given a white man's name, or if it is indisputably that of a non-white, goes by a generic name. The colonial exploitation of the white man requires that he justify it by superior intellect, hard work rather than sheer violence which is how the white dominated the world. So, they take credit for everything. Underlying the need to put his name on everything is the need to own everything. I would say that given the advances the Chinese scientists achieved, they should ban white scientists from entering China. The same applies to the nations in South America, Africa and other Asiatic countries.

If they ban white scientists from China, should we then ban Chinese from the U.S. University system? Which by the way was developed and funded by the "white man."

Your argument makes a lot of sense. White male scientists have contributed very little and should probably be banned from the scientific study altogether lol.

Classic example of logical fallacy of argument by sarcasm. You cannot use "lol" as an argument, sir. I am sure you are aware that you have no real argument to make, and therefore use fallacious logic to make it look like a rebuttal. Good luck.

The white man thinks every thing is his discovery. The actual discovery was made by the Chinese scientists, and the white people take credit for them. Look around us. Every scientific invention is given a white man's name, or if it is indisputably that of a non-white, goes by a generic name. The colonial exploitation of the white man requires that he justify it by superior intellect, hard work rather than sheer violence which is how the white dominated the world. So, they take credit for everything. Underlying the need to put his name on everything is the need to own everything. I would say that given the advances the Chinese scientists achieved, they should ban white scientists from entering China. The same applies to the nations in South America, Africa and other Asiatic countries.

-John

STOP SPAMMING

This is not spam. I could not find anything better to say than to say "hear! hear!" and therefore I repeat it here:

The white man thinks every thing is his discovery. The actual discovery was made by the Chinese scientists, and the white people take credit for them. Look around us. Every scientific invention is given a white man's name, or if it is indisputably that of a non-white, goes by a generic name. The colonial exploitation of the white man requires that he justify it by superior intellect, hard work rather than sheer violence which is how the white dominated the world. So, they take credit for everything. Underlying the need to put his name on everything is the need to own everything. I would say that given the advances the Chinese scientists achieved, they should ban white scientists from entering China. The same applies to the nations in South America, Africa and other Asiatic countries.

The question is, who flung dung first?

With due respect, the title and the content are insulting. The GWU has nothing to do with the so-called discovery, and Clark has no reason to put his name on the "discovery". That should be addressed for the sake of fairness and scientific accuracy.
One commenter went too far as to say that the Chinese scientists should be banned from the U.S. universities, with the argument that the US universities are the product of the white male endeavor. But this is wrong. The US itself is the product of violent exploitation of the Native Americans, the African Americans and the Latinos. And many US universities are the products of colonial exploitation. Yale University, for example, is the product of looted wealth from colonial India by one Elihu Yale, a colonial British civil servant.

Therefore, it is my view that the entire world has a claim to work at the US universities, they being the product of looted wealth from the rest of the world.

Typical liberal B.S. The native americans were more than happy to exploit their neighboring tribes. Many native americans were attacked, enslaved, killed, or eliminated by neighboring tribes.

I suppose that Elihu Yale created the barren wasteland you call India today? Are the Indians not capable of managing themselves? Are they a product of their own brutal social caste system? Besides whom is doing the exploitation now? India and China are mass counterfeiters of U.S research and development, drugs, software, hardware, entertainment. Look at how they treat their own people. Do your homework, even Obamas' own brother admits that colonialism was good for Africa. Not all societies function well as a democracy.

This comment thread of apologists of the white colonial exploitation shows the lack of good logical thinking in the white people. They cannot address an argument without distractions. Implicit in idea of "counterfeit" is the view that it was owned by the white man. That premise is questionable. Elihu Yale need not be defended. The point about Yale is that this was not your grandfather's hard work that became Yale University and its endowment. As to whether colonialism is good for the world, if this were the case, let the world colonize and make Europe and America better. And as long as one group exploits another group, the talk of democracy has no real meaning.

I sympathize with the commenter who could not believe the comment thread. But that view is naive because there is no such thing as science by or for itself or science for the sake of science. All science is political. That was the reason the article not only mentioned GWU but also gave the name of the endowment that grants funds to the researcher Clark. All of them want propaganda benefit from the "discovery" by Clark.

Completely missing the point here. They've discovered a new species of theropod, in China. That's it. Those who see jingoism are reading too deep into this.

I find it incredibly racist that these dinosaurs they keep finding are Chinese dinosaurs. When are they going to find an American dinosaur? This must be some conspiracy on the part of the Communist Chinese Government to suppress American dinosaurs.

I can't believe the comment section.

Right. Obviously the dinosaurs existed before China or America. Americans put up money and the Chinese provide the people and the locations - it's a big country. But they forget that GWU wrote the release, not any school in China. The official state newspaper of China does not even mention America about this find.

For the record, this is one of many discoveries made by our joint expeditions, funded jointly by the US NSF and the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation. My esteemed colleague Dr. Xu Xing has taken the lead on several of these (Limusaurus, Guanlong, Yinlong), but the work on this one was done mostly by my PhD student Jonah Choiniere, senior author on the paper. I discovered the fossil during our expedition of 2006, we've been pretty good about giving credit to the discoverers of the fossils in all our press releases. Dr. Xu and I have separate press releases, I am not sure if he had one for this species since he has so many things on his plate.

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