Prehistoric reptile fossil found in China's Three Gorges area

Fossils of a herbivorous reptile species dating back around 170 million years were discovered recently in the Three Gorges Reservoir area in Yunyang County, southwest China's Chongqing, according to the municipal

bureau of geology and mineral resources.

With a head about the size of an apple and three rows of large teeth in its mouth, the reptile is believed to have lived in the early Middle Jurassic period, said Wang Ping, a researcher at the bureau.

The species is thought to have lived during the same period as the Yunyang Dinosaur, a type of dinosaur whose fossils were first unearthed in 2015, according to the bureau.

Based on the reptile's fossil specimens, such as skulls, mandibles and teeth, the animal is recognized as a member of the genus Tritylodon, a small creature with a morphology similar to that of beavers, porcupines and field mice.

Experts said that Tritylodonts are an important part of the Yunyang Dinosaur fauna, and the discovery has added to the diversity of associated vertebrate species in the group.