The diver loved to eat fish. The first “streamlined” non-bird theropod dinosaur found

The diver loved to eat fish. The first “streamlined” non-bird theropod dinosaur found

Science and Technology Daily reporter Zhang Mengran

An archaeological study published Tuesday in the journal Letters Biology describes a new species of dinosaur with a streamlined body shape similar to that of modern diving birds such as penguins and puffins. The discovery shows the first non-avian theropod dinosaur (that is, carnivorous dinosaurs that walked on two feet) with a streamlined body.

The Seoul National University team examined a sample of fossil remains to identify the new species, which has been named Natovenator polydontus, meaning ‘swimming hunter with many teeth’. The sample is a mostly intact skeleton consisting of a skull, spine, and the remains of one forelimb and two hind limbs.

Reconstruction of a diving dinosaur. Photo: Communications Biology

The team reports several adaptations that suggest the “swimming hunter” dinosaurs may have been a semi-aquatic diving predator, including a streamlined body similar to that of modern diving birds (with ribs pointing toward the tail) and a long neck similar to that of modern water birds such as geese. These adaptations may have reduced the resistance the swimhunter encountered in the water, helping it to catch its prey.

The researchers also theorize that the swimhunter had an unusually large number of teeth for its jaw size, perhaps indicating a diet based on fish or insects, but further evidence (such as fossilized remains of stomach contents) is needed to confirm this. Analysis of the evolutionary relationship between the new species and other theropod dinosaurs suggests that it is related to Hazcaraptor, a class of non-bird theropod dinosaurs, which previous research suggested may have adapted to a semi-aquatic lifestyle, similar to today’s waterfowl.

Together, these findings suggest that the “swimming hunter” dragon was a semi-aquatic diving predator, providing more insight into the evolution of theropods.

Explore Chengdu Natural History Museum

Explore Chengdu Natural History Museum

Chengdu Museum of Natural History (Chengdu University of Technology Museum) has a collection of nearly 30,000 pieces (groups), with the main collection directions of highlighting the earth sciences in Sichuan, paleontological fossils in Sichuan-Chongqing area, and biodiversity in Sichuan. The basic exhibition will take “Understanding the Earth Home, exploring the mystery of nature” as the general theme, “Earth treasure — environment and resources”, “ Dinosaur story — Origin and evolution”, “Life home — Conflict and harmony” as the unit display main line, with all kinds of natural specimens as the core support, combined with modern scientific and technological means. Topics such as geological processes and mineral resources, natural disasters and disaster prevention and reduction, origin and evolution of life and biodiversity will be revealed, and a content system with distinct themes, clear levels and prominent features will be constructed.

The permanent exhibition hall of the museum is the Department of Geology and Environment, the Department of Mineral Resources, the Department of Dinosaur Exploration, the Department of Dragon Travel in Sichuan and Chongqing, the Department of Life Exploration, and the Hall of Colorful Life. The exhibits on display include the Mamenxi dragon fossil of Hexuan, the Chongqing fish fossil of Dazhu, the iron meteorite of Longchang, the golden monkey of Sichuan, snow leopard, takin and so on. There are 2 temporary exhibition halls, which can plan and hold temporary exhibitions and special exhibition activities with different themes according to the collection resources and cultural characteristics.

Department of Geology and Environment

Through the AR digital telescope in front of the sand table, visitors can see a digital intelligence model of Chengdu plain which is superimposed by real sand table and virtual reality. The information of Chengdu’s “water system”, “mountain system”, “species” and “minerals” corresponding to the layout of the sand table can be presented one by one on the physical sand table.

Dinosaur Hall

Through digital touch display technology, visitors can “revive” the Mamenxi dragon of Hechuan hundreds of millions of years ago. They can also touch control the breathing of the dinosaur and observe the operation of its organs for interactive experience of virtual feeding.

“Longxing Sichuan-Chongqing Office”

The fossil that attracts the most attention is the largest dinosaur fossil in Asia, the 22-meter-long and 4-meter-high Mamenxi dragon fossil in Hechuan, which is placed in the C position.

Department of Mineral Resources

Inside the tangible color of different ores, minerals, especially all kinds of jade stone, shining in the light of the mysterious luster. For those who like rare mineral gems, you can not only enjoy the elegance of various gems, but also have a hands-on experience. The exhibition hall has an experience desk, where visitors can hold various ores in their hands and carefully observe them. They can also scratch and rub on the porcelain plate to observe the color of mineral powder, so as to identify the finish color and hardness of minerals.

“Source of Life Exhibition Hall”

With “the surprise of finding life” as the main story line, it tells the origin of life on Earth and the history from the birth of life to the emergence of mammals, reproducing the ancient stories in the long river of life.

“Colorful Life Exhibition Hall”

Centering on the theme of “biodiversity”, the research results of natural specimens and their preservation environment are used to construct a natural exhibition with distinct themes, rich connotations, scientific, informative, ornamental and interesting.

Chengdu Daily Jinguan News reporter Wang Jia Photo Wang Jia responsible editor He Qitie Intern editor Lu Yarui

Rare fossilized dinosaur footprints found in Fujian Province

Rare fossilized dinosaur footprints found in Fujian Province

A rare dinosaur footprint fossil was discovered recently in Shanghang County, Longyan City, Fujian Province.

The new discovery site is located on the east side of and adjacent to the Late Cretaceous dinosaur footprint group in Longxiang Village, Lincheng Town, Shanghang County, Longyan City, Fujian Province. It is understood that due to the rock collapse, some new fossil specimens were exposed in place, including a pair of positive and negative plates (pairs of plates) preserved dinosaur footprint fossils, the concave and convex footprints on both sides correspond one by one, just like a set of open molds.

“The exposed fossil specimen covers an area of nearly 15 square meters and contains sauropod and theropod footprints, including those left by dinosaurs as they walked, as well as some clear symmetrical pattern marks, representing a lacustrine sedimentary environment.” According to Wang Xiaolin, a member of the National Expert Committee on Paleontology and Fossils and a researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, such a large area of both positive and negative dinosaur footprint fossils has not been found anywhere else in China or even internationally.

The exposed fossil specimen covers an area of nearly 15 square meters and contains sauropod and theropod footprints. Photo provided by Shanghang County Rong Media Center

Most of the dinosaur footprint fossils found at home and abroad belong to the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous, while those found in Shanghang belong to the Late Cretaceous and represent the activity remains of the last stage before the extinction of dinosaurs, which has important scientific value, popular science value and protection value, Wang said. Most of the fossilized dinosaur tracks found before had only one concave or convex face, and it is very rare to see both concave and convex faces.

According to the preliminary statistics of Wang Baopeng, an associate researcher at the Beijing Museum of Natural Science, who was also on the site of the investigation, the fossil contains more than 30 tracks of six kinds of dinosaurs. The number and clarity of the preserved fossils are also very rare, which is of special significance for the study of the living habits and living environment of the Late Cretaceous dinosaurs.

It is reported that the Shanghang dinosaur footprint group fossil was first discovered in November 2020, which is one of the late Cretaceous dinosaur footprint groups with the highest diversity found in China, and the first discovery of dinosaur-related fossils in Fujian Province. So far, a variety of dinosaur footprint types have been found and at least four layers have been found, proving that dinosaurs had a long life history in the area.

China’s rare dinosaur remains have been discovered in Zhucheng, Shandong province

China’s rare dinosaur remains have been discovered in Zhucheng, Shandong province

Recently, a relatively complete water ripple remains and some large dinosaur footprints were discovered in the main fossil remains area of Zhucheng, Shandong province, during the spring fossil field investigation by the dinosaur Culture Research Center staff.

According to experts, the fossil site of the newly discovered water ripple remains was a shallow lake at that time, which proves that the Zhucheng area was covered with dense vegetation during the Mesozoic era, which was very suitable for dinosaurs to live. The climate was dry and the lake was very shallow, and the wind left ripples on the lake. Both sauropod and theropod footprints were found at the site, which is about 10 kilometers away from the site, proving that a large number of sauropod and theropod dinosaurs lived there during the Mesozoic. Based on the comparative analysis of the characteristics of the surrounding rock deposits and the strata around the fossil sites, it is preliminarily concluded that the strata are early Cretaceous geological strata, which is relatively rare in China.

Zhucheng, Shandong province, is a faulted basin in the south of Jiaolai Basin. It was formed in the Cretaceous of Mesozoic era, with complex structural deformation, complete geological strata development and long-term continuous deposition of basin depressions, which created conditions for the formation of dinosaur fossils.

Since the 1960s, more than 30 burial sites of dinosaur fossils have been discovered in Zhucheng, including Kugou, Digecun, Yuhuang, Zangjiazhuang and Houjiatun, covering an area of nearly 1,000 square kilometers. Zhucheng is known as the “ Dragon City of China” because of its rich dinosaur fossil resources.

Source: CCTV News

Folklore leads to a “Chinese Dinosaur World City”

Folklore leads to a “Chinese Dinosaur World City”

This article is transferred from: China News Network

Newly discovered relatively complete water ripple trace fossils and large dinosaur footprint fossils in Zhucheng

Folklore leads to a “Chinese Dragon City”

Recently, the staff of Zhucheng Dinosaur Culture Research Center discovered a relatively complete water ripple trace fossil and some large dinosaur footprint fossils from the main fossil relic area in Zhucheng during the spring field fossil exploration process, which made Zhucheng usher in “high light” again. time”. Since the 1960s, more than 30 dinosaur fossil burial sites have been discovered in Zhucheng, covering an area of ​​nearly 1,000 square kilometers, winning the reputation of “China’s Dragon City”.

Keel Stream’s Secret

Zhucheng has the largest and most concentrated group of dinosaur fossils in the world, with an exposed area of ​​nearly 20,000 square meters, which is 10 times that of Utah National Dinosaur Park and 6 times that of Lufeng World Dinosaur Valley. It has the largest dinosaur footprint group in the world, about 5,000 square meters and more than 11,000, which is rare in the world. At the same time, Zhucheng dinosaur fossils belong to the late Cretaceous period, about 75 million years ago, and are the most typical witnesses of Cretaceous geological events.

Regarding the “ dragon”, there is an ancient folklore circulating in Zhucheng.

There is a river in Kugou Village, Lubiao Town, Zhucheng City, which is called Juan River. According to legend, in ancient times, there lived a kind white dragon in the Juanhe River, who protected the local area with good weather and good harvest every year. One day, a black dragon came from out of nowhere, and the black dragon was irritable and made waves. The white dragon was determined to kill the people, and it entrusted the people with a dream, saying that it was going to fight the black dragon, and hoped that the people would prepare steamed buns and lime. Seeing the black waves turning up in the river, it was a black dragon coming up to forage, so he quickly threw lime into the river. The next day, the people acted according to the plan. After the black dragon swallowed the lime, it burned all his internal organs and the pain was unbearable. He raised his head and bowed his body, and he just sprang out of a north-south ditch. Finally, he died of exhaustion and was buried in it. The locals called this place “ Dragon Bone Stream” “Black Dragon Valley”.

Interestingly, in the keel creek and the surrounding farmland, some giant bones are exposed from time to time. The local farmers discovered that these bones have a wonderful function, which can stop bleeding and reduce inflammation, so they used them as medicine and called them keels. People think that the Keel Stream is a treasure of Feng Shui, and gradually, after the death of the villagers, they will choose to be buried on the slope closest to the Keel Stream.

Are there dragons in the Keel Stream? Do those huge bones belong to the white dragon that died in the stream according to the villagers’ legend? For many years, no one knew the true origin of the keel until the arrival of paleontologists in 1964. Finally revealed a shocking secret.

1964 is the year of the dragon in the traditional Chinese zodiac, and it is destined to be related to the “ dragon”. In October of this year, when the comprehensive research team of the Petroleum Bureau of the Ministry of Geology conducted a geological survey in Zhucheng, the strange and huge animal skeleton fossils in the Keel Stream attracted their attention. Afterwards, they transported some of the fossils back to Beijing and asked paleontologists for identification. The identification results are determined to be the skeleton of a dinosaur, and it is the fossil of a giant hadrosaur, a dinosaur that lived in the early late Cretaceous about 70 million years ago, which has never been found by humans before.

Hadrosaurus is a relatively advanced class of ornithopod dinosaurs. It is widely distributed in the Late Cretaceous strata in Asia and North America. In my country, it is mainly distributed in Heilongjiang, Shandong, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Ningxia, Sichuan and other provinces. . In 1914, the Russians discovered the earliest hadrosaurus in my country: Heilongjiang Manzhousaurus in the Late Cretaceous strata of Longgushan, Jiayin County, Heilongjiang.

The shocking discovery of Zhucheng immediately caused a sensation in the paleontology community. In May 1966, the Ministry of Geology dispatched a scientific expedition team led by the famous paleontologist Hu Chengzhi to carry out the first dinosaur fossil excavation in Zhucheng Keel Stream. By June 1968, a total of 30 tons of hadrosaurus fossils had been collected, erected to a length of 15 meters and a height of 8 meters. It was the largest dinosaur among the hadrosaurs discovered in the world at that time. In 1972, Xinhua News Agency and People’s Daily successively released news titled “Huge Dinosaur Fossils Discovered in Shandong”. At that time, the early late Cretaceous hadrosaurus fossils had not been reported in the world, and the discovery of the dinosaur fossil skeleton, fill this gap. Later, Hu Chengzhi named it “Giant Shandong Dragon”.

Breaking the Guinness Book of Records

From June 1988 to December 1991, according to the needs of scientific research, the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Zhucheng jointly carried out the second large-scale dinosaur fossil excavation. Led by Zhao Xijin, a famous dinosaur expert, a group of hadrosaurus fossil specimens were collected from two fossil sites, Keeljian and Houjiatun West Hillside.

After the fossils were recovered, after more than 4 years of cleaning, repairing and restoration work, together with the first excavation of unframed fossils, a total of 3 dinosaur fossil skeletons were erected. Among them, the “giant Zhucheng dragon” with a length of 16.6 meters and a height of 9.1 meters has once again become the largest hadrosaurus discovered in the world, and won the Guinness Book of World Records. It is even bigger than the famous Tyrannosaurus ( T-Rex) a circle.

On May 23, 1992, the “Giant Zhucheng Dragon” was exhibited for the first time in the Zhucheng Government Auditorium, which caused a widespread sensation. On May 30, People’s Daily made a special report on “Zhucheng Exhibits the World’s Largest Dinosaur Fossil”, and CCTV also broadcast the news on “News Network”. Since then, people from all walks of life have come to Zhucheng to see the “ Dragon Face”.

Later, according to the needs of scientific research and fossil protection, Zhucheng City and the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences signed a cooperation agreement, and hired Xu Xing, a famous dinosaur expert, to form a special team and team. The 7 fossil sites including Jian, Zangjiazhuang and Huanglonggou organized the third large-scale scientific census and excavation of dinosaur fossils, and discovered the Zangjiazhuang fossil stacking area, the keeljian fossil corridor, the fossil uplift belt and the Huanglonggou dinosaurs. The footprint group is called “the world’s first group” and “the world’s first seal” by experts.

The Keel Stream Fossil Corridor is 500 meters long, 30 meters deep, and distributed on a 45-degree slope. Nearly 10,000 fossils are exposed. The fossils are densely distributed and scattered in a mess, like a huge relief; More than 20 meters, more than 1,000 fossils are exposed, and the fossils are scattered irregularly at the bottom of the ditch. Spectacular. Within the 5,000-square-meter area of ​​the Huanglonggou Dinosaur Footprint Group, there are more than 11,000 dinosaur footprints. Theropod and sauropod footprints of different shapes, sizes, and depths are arranged in multiple layers on the rock formation, as if it were a dinosaur. Big dance floor. Among them, the small theropod footprint is only 7 cm, and the large sauropod footprint is more than 1 meter in diameter. The discovery of such a large and concentrated group of dinosaur fossils and footprints at the same time in one area is a unique geological wonder in the world.

What is shocking is not only the number and scale of dinosaur fossils, but also the types of dinosaurs. Among them, major discoveries such as large-scale Sharposaurus fossils, Cilicerosaurus fossil skeletons, tyrannosaur fossils, hadrosaurs fossils, sauropod fossils, and Oviraptorosaurus fossils have filled the gaps in the field of dinosaur research.

The “big guy” family

Hadrosaurus fossils found in other parts of the world are all less than 10 meters long, but Zhucheng Hadrosaurus can grow to 18.7 meters long. People even have reasons to believe that this is not the largest individual of its population. After all, the fossils preserved are only few. It can be said that the hadrosaurus fossils found in Zhucheng are generally “big”.

Zhucheng Hadrosaurus was huge and bulky, which determined that it was not good at long-distance migration, let alone running like ornithopod dinosaurs. Therefore, its living radius was limited and it could only live in a small area. Among the dinosaurs found in Zhucheng Keeljian and Zangjiazhuang, almost 90% of the skeletons are hadrosaurs. The large and small bones not only represent different stages of its ontogeny, but also show that Zhucheng Hadrosaurus was a gregarious dinosaur.

In the age of dinosaurs, Zhucheng had a warm climate, abundant rainfall, interwoven rivers, extensive lakes, lush vegetation and full of vitality. Around lakes, rivers and piedmont lowlands, a variety of ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms grow, and groups of smaller sauropod and ceratopsian dinosaurs live; the low mountains in the distance and The hills grow tall pine and cypress, ginkgo, cycad, palm and other plants, live in groups of three or five giant hadrosaurs and large sauropod dinosaurs, and ferocious Tyrannosaurus rex and small theropod dinosaurs are wandering around. , looking for their prey targets at any time.

Abundant and high-quality cycads, palms, pine cypresses, ginkgo and other plants, although low in calories, are better in quantity, enough to satisfy the stomachs of hadrosaurs. After all, adult hadrosaurs eat at least 1 ton of food a day. The slender neck allows them to eat up and down while standing still, while hundreds of enamel teeth are firmly connected by bone tissue to form a huge washboard-like “mill” that can help the hadrosaurs deal with it. Fiber-rich tough plant.

Amazingly, these overlapping teeth also have a replacement effect, just like the teeth of great white sharks and crocodiles: they grow and are replaced continuously. It’s just that great white sharks use them to do bloody things, and docile hadrosaurs use them to chew on plants.

Studies suggest that hadrosaurs had a unique and unrestricted growth pattern. The growth patterns of animals are divided into restricted growth patterns and non-restricted growth patterns. Mammals, including humans, will stop growing at a certain stage of individual development, then gradually age, and finally die, which is called a restricted growth pattern; and a hadrosaurus that can grow for life is an unrestricted growth pattern. . That is, if a hadrosaurus lived a long time, it would have grown quite large. Some researchers believe that the average age of Zhucheng Hadrosaurus is about 150 years old, and the long-lived can even live to 200 years old.

Zhucheng hadrosaurs had a fast metabolic rate and grew fast, so it’s no surprise that they were huge. On the one hand, rapid growth can make them grow into giants, and on the other hand, the cubs of hadrosaurs can quickly have a huge body to deter the enemy. You must know that hadrosaurs are docile herbivores, with no sharp horns, no solid armor, and no flying speed.

The study found that there are special reasons why Zhucheng preserves so many dinosaur bone fossils. The experts imagined such a scenario: a certain summer, Zhucheng thundered with lightning and poured rain for several days. Suddenly, there were bursts of roaring sounds from the distant mountains, and a terrifying flash flood broke out. The flood roared in the valleys, sweeping down the sand, soil, branches, vegetation, etc., overwhelming the sky and overwhelming the earth.

Seeing this chaos, birds, pterosaurs, insects and other flying animals are flying blindly under the dark clouds; all kinds of dinosaurs are running wildly in the mountains, trying to find a way to escape. However, the galloping flood was like a runaway wild horse, mercilessly devouring everything between heaven and earth, and the dinosaurs could not escape this catastrophe.

After the mass death of the dinosaurs, the sun exposure caused the corpses to rot rapidly, and the entire Zhucheng Basin was soon covered with bones. The subsequent torrential rain washed the bones of the dinosaurs into pieces, making it difficult for us to see the entire dinosaur fossils today; at the same time, the mudslides caused by the rainstorm covered everything and made the keels buried deep underground. After tens of millions of years, the crustal changes have never stopped, and the dinosaurs who have been tempered by the earth meet us again in the form of fossils today.