Fact Check: Did China Discover 'Dinosaur-Like Creatures' in Uncharted Land?

Year after year, paleontological excavations around the world continue to discover new fossils, providing fascinating findings of the planet's ancient ancestors.

In 2022 alone, scientists found a new species of horned dinosaur, Bisticeratops froeseorum, in New Mexico, not seen for 70 million years, while the teeth of what is thought to belong to the sauropod diamantinasaurus, one of the largest animals that have ever walked the globe, was unearthed in Australia.

However, according to one viral video on TikTok, China recently trumped all of these discoveries with the wild claim that "dinosaur-like creatures" were found recently roaming the earth.

Dinosaur Found in China
A viral TikTok claimed that dinosaur-like creatures had been discovered roaming "uncharted" land in China. TikTok user Raven Holiday claimed that thousands or even millions of these creatures were found. Pictured here, a 3D illustration of a Tyrannosaurus from the Cretaceous era. iStock / Getty Images

The Claim

A video posted on TikTok, on February 6, 2023, with more than 700,000 views, claimed that a Chinese news report stated that "uncharted land" had been discovered with "dinosaur-like creatures over 13ft tall."

TikTok user Raven Holiday said she discovered the story while at a nail salon, translating the report from her phone, whereafter she "confirmed it with the nail team."

Holiday went on to say that a group of scientists had made the finding, adding: "They are saying the number could be in the thousands to the millions of these animals."

The Facts

Sixty-five million years since the extinction of the dinosaurs, new excavations and discoveries continue to delight and intrigue.

Last month, a new species with 400 teeth, the Balaenognathus maeuseri, was found in Germany, according to a report in The Independent.

The nearly complete skeleton, discovered accidentally in a Bavarian quarry, was described by research lead Professor David Martill as having a "really long" jaw "lined with small, fine, hooked teeth, with tiny spaces between them like a nit comb."

By contrast, the TikTok claim of an "uncharted" land full of "thousands to the millions" of "dinosaur-like" creatures is not supported by any even remotely credible evidence.

Apart from the established fact that all non-bird dinosaurs died out after the collision of an asteroid with the earth 66 million years ago, Raven Holiday cited no sources, only mentioning a likely unreliable translation allegedly from a Chinese news report.

Aside from the likelihood of mistranslation, and the sheer outlandishness of the claim, there is simply no evidence that this story exists. A follow-up TikTok video by Holiday did not provide any further sources.

Searching via Xinhuaunet, the online provider of China's official state news agency, Xinhua News Agency, revealed no such report.

The closest and most recent report was from November 22, 2022, which claimed the discovery of "15 square meters of well-preserved dinosaur footprints" in "Shanghang County, Longyan City of east China's Fujian Province."

Newsweek was unable to find any reports, journals, or articles elsewhere that reported the discovery or anything like that claimed by Holiday.

Furthermore, while there are "uncharted" areas of the Earth, most of this is oceanic. According to the Schmidt Ocean Institute, only five percent of the world's seafloor has been mapped in detail, meaning roughly 65 percent of the Earth remains unexplored.

While the size of inland China does mean that scientists have found unmapped areas within its mountains and forests, this alone does not add any further credibility to Holiday's claim on TikTok.

Inviting the possibility that Holiday had watched and translated a Chinese news report of some kind, there are some stories on which a misinterpretation may be based.

Last year, in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in south China, a team of explorers discovered a 630-foot deep sinkhole in Leye County, in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The hole was reported to home primitive trees that had grown as tall as 131 feet, with an interior about 1,004 feet long and 492 feet wide.

Another possible source, reported last month, was the discovery of remains of never-before-seen ancient creatures, found in China's Xinjiang's region, which survived a mass extinction event that wiped out the majority of life on earth.

Scientists discovered bones of the newly identified species amid a rich deposit of plant and animal fossils from the Permian period (around 299-252 million years ago) and Triassic period (around 252-201 million years ago), a study published in the journal The Science of Nature showed.

However, neither of these stories contains any reference to discoveries of living species, let alone the "creatures" as described by Holiday on TikTok.

The Ruling



There is no evidence that that "uncharted" land full of "dinosaur-like creatures" have been discovered in China, nor are there any Chinese new reports of such a discovery.

FACT CHECK BY Newsweek's Fact Check team

False: The claim is demonstrably false. Primary source evidence proves the claim to be false.
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