Giant "Dragon-like" Dino, eh? I'm guessing that this is not a hoax, like so many other before them... Regardless, fascinating the possibility that this may lend itself to providing the origin of the Chinese Dragon mythology...
A huge newly discovered dinosaur species in China has some paleontologists theorizing that it could be the origin of the mythological dragon.
In fact the 50-ft species, believed to have roamed the earth 160 million years ago in the Late Jurassic period, has been named "Qijianglong," or the "dragon of Qijiang," according to CNN.
The skeleton was first spotted in 2006 by farmers digging for a fish pond in Qijang city. They thought the long skeleton looked like one of China's mythical dragons, according to Lida Xing, a member of the research team from the University of Alberta.
"We found the dinosaur's huge vertebrae with the skull and the tail, but couldn't find any bones from the hands or the legs. So the locals began to say the long body looked just like a dragon from ancient Chinese stories," Xing explained to CNN.
Most long-necked dinosaurs, or sauropods, have necks about one third the length of their body. This new discovery belongs to a dinosaur group called mamenchisaurids, which have necks as long as half the length of their bodies, according to the findings published this week in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
"There is one theory that the Chinese got an inspiration for the dragon by looking at a dinosaur skeleton in the ground," Tetsuto Miyashita, a PhD student at the University of Alberta, told CBC News. "They stumbled upon a long-necked creature like this and they didn't know what it was. So they put the crocodiles and snakes that they knew together to picture a big, mythical creature like dragons."
Miyashita also noted that it was rare for a long-necked dinosaur's skull to still be connected to its spine, which would have helped contribute to the skeleton's dragon-like appearance, according to the Washington Post.
"Nowhere else we can find dinosaurs with longer necks than those in China," Miyashita told CNN. "The new dinosaur tells us that these extreme species thrived in isolation from the rest of the world."
The skeleton is being kept in a local museum in Qijiang, but researchers plan to move it to a more specialized dinosaur museum in the future.