Seoul: South Korean paleontologists have found a complete fossil of a small dinosaur in rare condition, the first such discovery of its kind in the country, according to the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage in Seoul.
The skeleton, which was found in a geologic formation in Hadong, some 450 km south of Seoul, belongs to a theropod and is about 28 cm tall and 5.7 cm long and with a 2.6-cm wide skull, said the institute in a statement Monday.
The organisation pointed out that not only was this the first complete skeleton of a theropod dinosaur to be found in South Korea, it was also one of the smallest species discovered in the country.
Paradoxically, this small carnivorous dinosaur belongs to the same family as the large tyrannosaurus which appeared 228 million years ago and lived until 65 million years ago and from which some modern birds have descended.
Moreover, it is "the only dinosaur fossil in which the vertebrae remain connected to the ribs", said the institute in its press release.
The South Korean paleontologists have said that they would be investigating the area in which the fossil was found in order to determine the stage of development of the animal and to see if it was related to other theropods whose remains have been found in the country.
Till now, paleontologists in South Korea had only been able to locate fragments of bones belonging to theropods.
Remains of other species have also been found in Hadong in South Gyeongsand province, among them pterodactyl teeth fossils and those of pukyongosaurus, a long-necked herbivore that lived on the Korean peninsula.