Chinese scientists have named the country's most recently discovered meat-eating dinosaur after its centuries-old Great Wall.
Xiongguanlong, the name of an early Cretaceous predator whose fossilized remains were found near the Jiayuguan, the western start point of the 8,850-km-long Ming Dynasty Great Wall, literally means "Dinosaur of the Grand Pass", said Li Daqing, a paleontologist with Gansu Provincial Bureau of Geo-Exploration and Mineral Development, on Friday.
Scientists with the bureau unearthed the fossils in 2005, including a complete skull without lower jaw and cervical and back vertebrae.
After four years of joint study, scientists from China and the United States found the species had filled a huge gap in tyrannosaurus evolutionary studies.
"The gap was 40 million to 50 million years, between the early and late Cretaceous period," said Li.
He said Xiongguanlong was the first known tyrannosaur to have lived in the early Cretaceous period, between 113 million and 117 million years ago.
"It was 1.5 meters tall at the hip and was estimated to weigh 270 kilograms, much smaller than the largest known tyrannosaurus, which was 4.2 meters tall at the hip and weighed between 6 and 7 tons," he said.
Li and his colleagues have put together the fossil pieces and built a model of the dinosaur, which will be on show at a dinosaur exhibition scheduled for July in the provincial capital, Lanzhou.