Late Jurassic dinosaur fossils from Dongxing City

Late Jurassic dinosaur fossils from Dongxing City

A dinosaur fossil unearthed in 2021 at the construction site of the front road of a high-speed railway construction project in Dongxing City has completed the first stage of restoration after a one-month restoration by technicians from the museum of Hebei University of Geosciences.

Technicians from the museum of Hebei University of Geosciences repair dinosaur fossils in Dongxing.

Technicians from the museum of Hebei University of Geosciences repair dinosaur fossils in Dongxing.

On February 3rd, the reporter came to the Dongxing Dinosaur Fossil Herbarium and saw that the dinosaur fossils collected in the room were arranged neatly, each fossil was numbered in detail, and the restored dinosaur fossils showed clear skeletal Outlines. It is known that in 2021, 363 dinosaur fossils have been excavated during the construction of the front road of Dongxing high-speed railway construction Project. At present, experts have repaired the cervical vertebra, dorsal vertebra, tail vertebra, neck rib, femur and other skeletal fossils, which are preliminatively determined to be sauropod dinosaur fossils.

Every dinosaur fossil is numbered

Every dinosaur fossil is numbered

Zeng Chunjun, director of the technology department of the Museum of Hebei University of Geosciences, who participated in the restoration work, said that before the Spring Festival, they carried out restoration work on the missing dinosaur fossils, mold making, mold turning, and scaffolding, and the progress was relatively smooth. For now, the restoration work has been suspended, pending the next discovery of new dinosaur fossils.

A restored dinosaur fossil.

A restored dinosaur fossil.

The reporter saw in the dinosaur fossil excavation site, the site set up a enclosure protective awning, to protect the exposed dinosaur footprints fossil specimens. Remarkably, five dinosaur footprints, about the size of a human hand, are spaced out on a boulder. According to the staff, the footprint fossils and bones they found are different kinds of dinosaur fossils, and the expert study determined that they were theropod dinosaur footprint fossils. It is understood that the footprint remains fossil and bone solid fossil are formed by dinosaurs in different nature and buried environment. It is often difficult to have two fossils in the same formation on a smaller scale. The simultaneous discovery of two fossils at the same site in Dongxing is rare among dinosaur fossil excavations in China and has important research value.

Dinosaur footprints are clearly visible on a boulder

Dinosaur footprints are clearly visible on a boulder

190 million years of dinosaurs come to see you

190 million years of dinosaurs come to see you

You Hailu, a researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, excavates newly discovered dinosaur fossils in Lufeng, Yunnan province.

A pile of dinosaur bones is seen on a steep slope in Dinushan town, Lufeng City, Chuxiong prefecture, Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, Jan. 1, 2019. Only 3 meters wide on the platform, large and small dinosaur fossils lying in the red soil, canine teeth interlocking together, among them a thick femur and an oval abdominal ribs like a huge dandelion fan, clearly identifiable.

“There are fossils of three large, medium and small dinosaurs, belonging to the Early Jurassic sauropod group, about 190 million years ago, walking on two legs. Such a concentration of dinosaur fossils is rare in the world. The discovery of three dinosaurs at a time is a New Year’s gift for dinosaur researchers and enthusiasts.” You Hailu, the leader of the excavation team and a researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told reporters.

After days of drizzling rain, the excavation team set up a plastic shed at the site, where Yuhailu and four team members dug through the wet earth and carefully removed dinosaur fossils of varying sizes, which were fixed with glue and plaster. “The fossils should be treated against weathering after exposure, and the fossils should be sketched on site to retain first-hand research data. During the excavation, we will fix and pack the fossils, and send the fossil bags to the warehouse of Lufeng Dinosaur Fossil Science Exhibition and Education Base for storage, which will be kept for future restoration, research and erection.” Yuhailu introduced the fossils while sorting them out.

“The bones of the three dinosaurs are intact except for the skull fossils. A dinosaur was about 7 to 8 meters long, about 5 meters long and about 4 meters long. Judging from the shape of the three dinosaur bones huddled together, the three dinosaurs probably lived together and died suddenly. Said Wang Tao, a member of the excavation team and director of the Lufeng City Dinosaur Fossil Protection and Research Center.

Wang’s colleague, Dong Qixing, and two graduate students in paleontology at Kunming University of Science and Technology, Zhao Zhenchen and Chen Lirunxuan, are also on the mountain every day. The excavation team was supported by a large number of experts and scholars, including Wang Qiang, expert on dinosaur eggs, Feng Wenqing, Technical Department of Vertebrate Paleontology Institute, Wang Yaming, China Geological Museum, Zhang Xinnan, Beijing Museum of Natural History, Ren Xinxin, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, and Wang Gongfu, Chuxiong Paleontological Fossil Research Center, etc.

How were these 3 dinosaurs discovered after 190 million years of sleep? On June 17, 2022, Kunming Natural Resources Comprehensive Survey Center was surveying on a barren mountain 30 kilometers away from Lufeng County. Zhao Jianbo, an assistant engineer, suddenly found a stone in the sandy soil of a steep slope, which was suspected to be a dinosaur leg bone fossil. He immediately contacted Wang Tao to check the site, and Wang Tao quickly confirmed that it was a dinosaur leg bone fossil.

On December 28, 2022, the Department of Natural Resources of Yunnan Province announced in Dinosaur Valley of Lufeng City that the dinosaur fossils discovered in Chuxiong Prefecture in recent years will be excavated and protected by the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. A total of nine dinosaur fossil sites will be excavated, including one dinosaur Mountain town in Lufeng City, two in Wande Town in Wading County, and six in Dazhuang, Damadi and Anlongbao towns in Shuangbai County.

According to Chen Jun, deputy director of the Yunnan Provincial Department of Natural Resources, the excavation of dinosaur fossils at the three sites was approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources on December 12, 2022. Most of the dinosaur fossils found this time are located on the slope, and the overall burial is shallow, and the shape of the bones is clearly distinguishable. Due to the severe weathering of the surrounding soil layer and natural phenomena such as rain erosion, some of the fossils have been exposed to the surface. It is urgent to carry out rescue excavation and effectively protect these national key conservation paleontological fossil resources.

Chuxiong Prefecture enjoys the reputation of “Kingdom of dinosaurs” and “storehouse of fossils”. This was once a haven for dinosaurs. Since the discovery of the first complete dinosaur skeleton fossil in 1938 in Shawan area of Lufeng County, more than 410 individual dinosaur fossils have been unearthed in the whole prefecture, among which more than 70 are in good condition, and a large number of dinosaur footprints have been found, especially those from the Early Jurassic. Currently, 14 species are known, accounting for 64% of the Early Jurassic dinosaurs in China. It is also one of the two best preserved sites of this period in the world (the other is South Africa).

According to the preliminary analysis of some dinosaur fossils uncovered so far, except for the dinosaur fossils in Dazhuang Town of Shuangbai County, which belong to the middle and late Jurassic period, the other eight sites belong to the Early Jurassic period. Among them, according to the fossils found in Wande Town, Wuding County, it is inferred that the local dinosaurs lived in the earliest Jurassic period, earlier than the dinosaur fauna represented by Lufeng Dragon in Lufeng Basin. The dinosaur fossil site to be excavated in Lufeng City is located in Chuanjie Basin, and the preliminary conclusion is that the newly discovered dinosaur has a large individual size, which will provide scientific basis for the comparative study between the dinosaurs in Lufeng Basin and the dinosaurs in Lufeng Basin, and further promote the in-depth study on the diversity, distribution and evolution of dinosaurs in Lufeng.

Then we will go to the Jinsha River Grand Canyon in Wuding County to excavate dinosaur fossils at two sites. After the Spring Festival, we will move to Shuangbai County, where there are more dinosaur fossils at six sites. We will finish the rescue excavation work in three counties in August.” “Wang Tao said.

“The excavation site in Wuding County may be the earliest site of dinosaur bones ever found in China.” “With the further excavation of dinosaur fossils, more and more detailed discovery, research, deduction and restoration will outline a more comprehensive existence of Early Jurassic dinosaur fossils in Yunnan, providing valuable scientific basis for the study of the origin and evolution of life,” Youhailu said.

Restoration of Jurassic dinosaur fossils

Restoration of Jurassic dinosaur fossils

In 2021, a dinosaur fossil from the late Jurassic period was discovered in Dongxing City, Guangxi Province, and the restoration work of the dinosaur fossil is moving forward in a strong and orderly way.

It is understood that 40% of the dinosaur fossils have been basically restored. After the restoration, the fossils will go through multiple processes, including restoration of missing parts, mold making and turning, framing and color restoration, to ensure the accurate presentation of the original shape and structure of the dinosaur bones.

Dongxing dinosaur fossil is the most southern coastal dinosaur fossil found so far, which is very important for the study of paleontological evolution, geological changes, paleogeography and paleoclimate and so on.

A fossil Jurassic lizard skull offers new insights into the evolution of reptiles

A fossil Jurassic lizard skull offers new insights into the evolution of reptiles Beijing, November 30 (Reporter Sun Zifa) In a new evolution paper published in Nature Communications, a Springer Nature journal, researchers describe the partially preserved skulls of two lizard species from the late Jurassic period (about 145 million years ago) in North America. Both fossils belong to the squamous crowns (the group that contains living lizards), providing new insights into the relationships of groups within this clade.

Fossils of early squamous evolution are limited and often poorly preserved, with the oldest uncrushed bone material available dating from the Cretaceous period (145.5 million to 65 million years ago), the paper said. There are a number of possible snakes, geckos, skink and other fossils from the Jurassic Period (about 200-145.5 million years ago), and their varying state of preservation means that their relationship to more recent fossils is unclear. Overall, the condition of the fossils makes the radiation and diversity of this group very unclear, limiting assumptions about the geographical distribution of the squamous group.

Lead author and corresponding author Chase Brownstein of Yale University and colleagues analyzed the anatomy of two newly discovered lizard fossils, Eoscincus ornatus and Microteras borealis, from the late Jurassic of North America. The results show that the fossils belong to a group that also includes skink, ring-tailed lizard, night lizard, naked eye lizard, whiptail lizard, wall lizard and vermicomonas.

They point out that the fossils in this study possess ancestral features not seen in more recent samples of this group, highlighting differences between evolutionary trees of squamous species based on morphological and genetic data. At the same time, combined with the evolution and expansion of dinosaurs, mammals and turtles, the expansion of the Atlantic Ocean is related to the ecological geography of terrestrial vertebrates.

The authors of the paper say their work supports an understanding of events that led to morphological innovation in reptiles and how early scaly species evolved into today’s lizards. (End)

Dinosaur species ranks first in the world, Chinese dinosaurs are the real “top class”

Dinosaur species ranks first in the world, Chinese dinosaurs are the real “top class”

From Jurassic Park, which was released in 1993, to Jurassic world 3, which was recently released, the “ dinosaur boom” has swept the world since the United States and has always been popular.

In fact, with the deepening of archaeological excavation, China’s dinosaur species have jumped to the first place in the world, and it is truly a “ dinosaur country”. So, how much do you know about dinosaurs in China? How was the first dinosaur found in China? How did China’s Dinosaur research “go” to the world from the countryside?

Keel lighting: Chinese dinosaurs appear in their hometown

In 1938, China’s first complete dinosaur skeleton fossil was found in the flames of war.

During the Anti Japanese War, in order to break the blockade of the Japanese army, the construction of the Yunnan Myanmar highway began to be stepped up. This highway was to pass through the Lufeng basin, and the legend of “keel” has been circulating in this area.

Build Yunnan Myanmar highway

Lufeng basin is located about 94 kilometers northwest of Kunming, Yunnan Province. It is a small inland basin. When working by the valley stream, local people often find strange stones with strange shapes, so they regard them as the bones of the legendary “ dragon” and respect them. Later, someone picked up the “keel” stone and lit an oil lamp with the concave surface of the vertebrae.

After the Lugouqiao Incident, the Japanese army occupied Peiping, and Chinese geological and paleontological researchers were forced to move south to Chongqing and Kunming. In July, 1938, Yang Zhongjian, who was then the director of the Kunming Office of the central geological survey, organized the investigation and research of Yunnan Geology and paleontological fossils.

In the winter of this year, Bian meinian and Wang Cunyi, who were also with the Central Geological Institute, returned from the Majie (now Yuanmou) basin survey and stopped in Lufeng. Bian meinian found that the oil lamp in the local farmer’s house was very interesting, like the vertebrae fossils of paleontology, so he asked the local guide. Led by the guide, he came to the place where the local people found the “keel”, where he found a large number of vertebrate fossils, and then reported it to Yang Zhongjian.

During the war of resistance against Japan, the literature in Kunming Research Institute was very scarce. Fortunately, the fossil identification was strongly supported by German professor Xu Nai. Yang Zhongjian therefore named it Lu Fenglong of the Xu family. For this reason, he also wrote a poem: “ten million years ago, a Shixiong was given the name Lu Fenglong of the Xu family.”

On December 7, 2015, dinosaur fossils of 180million years ago were found in Yunnan. According to the preliminary identification of experts on site, it is presumed to be the fossils of “giant Lufeng dragon” about 180million years ago.

Later, Yang Zhongjian mentioned in his memoirs that at that time, in order to avoid the Japanese bombing, he moved the research room to the Guandi temple in Wayao Village. In a poem, he described the embarrassing research conditions at that time: “there are dragons hidden in three low houses, and they are bored to study the similarities and differences between withered bones.”

After systematic excavation, research and collation, in 1941, Yang Zhongjian and Bian meinian published the annals of paleontology of China: Lu Fenglong of Xu. The following year, Yang Zhongjian repaired and installed the skeleton of Lufeng dinosaur of Xu family in Chongqing central geological survey, which was the first complete dinosaur skeleton specimen in China and attracted the attention of paleontologists at home and abroad.

In more than 80 years since then, a large number of dinosaur fossil individuals have been unearthed in Lufeng, Yunnan, spanning the early, middle and late Jurassic periods. Therefore, Lufeng is known as the “hometown of dinosaurs in China”.

Blow up the mountain and open the way: discover the “ dinosaur ambassador”

In 1952, a construction team in Sichuan found a huge skeleton when blowing up mountains and opening roads at the construction site next to MaMingXi ferry in Yibin City.

At that time, the workers probably misread “maming River” as “Mamen River” because of the dialect, so they transported these fossils to the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. After the research of the famous paleontologist Mr. Yang Zhongjian, they were named Jianshe Mamen River Dragon.

Mamen stream dragon is famous for its huge body shape and long neck. Its neck can reach 9 meters long. It was once the longest animal on the earth. Mamen Xilong has also served as a “ dinosaur ambassador” for many times, exhibited abroad, and is still the most famous Chinese Dinosaur in the world.

Skeleton fossils of mamenxi dragon in Hechuan

Since the 1960s, more and more dinosaur researchers have emerged in China. Relying on museums and research institutes, they have established the framework of dinosaur research in China.

In 1976, Shulong fossils were found in Dashanpu Town, Zigong City, Sichuan Province, and Dashanpu fauna began to be known. Paleontologist Dongzhiming recalled, “like digging sweet potatoes, fossils are everywhere.” Dashanpu dinosaur fossil group site in Zigong is one of the largest dinosaur fossil group sites in China today, also known as “solidified Jurassic Park”.

Since the 1980s, Chinese Dinosaur research has become more active. It has organized and implemented many large-scale international cooperative investigations, excavations, and studies, held itinerant exhibitions of dinosaur fossils, found many important fossil sites and horizons, and studied and named a large number of new genera and species of dinosaur fauna.

At the same time, certain progress has also been made in the research fields of dinosaur eggs, dinosaur footprints, dinosaur cluster death and extinction, and dinosaur bone histology. The level of some research fields is in the forefront of the world, which has attracted extensive attention all over the world.

Chinese dragon bird fossil

In 1996, many unique feathered dinosaurs were found in Rehe biota in western Liaoning. Among them, the discovery of sinosaurus has brought dinosaur research into a new field. The scientific hypothesis that “birds originated from dinosaurs” has been increasingly demonstrated in Chinese research.

Witness life: go to the forefront of the world

Human research on dinosaurs began in Europe in the 1920s. In 1824, British geologist Buckland described the giant toothed dragon found in England. It was not until 1842 that British paleontologist Owen officially proposed the word “ dinosaur”, which means “terrible lizard”.

Although dinosaur research in China started late, it has developed rapidly. According to the statistics of the China National Museum of Paleontology in June 2019, there are currently 266 genera and 308 species of dinosaurs named in China according to the study of bone fossils, ranking first in the world. In addition, almost 10 new dinosaurs can be found in China every year, which is also the first in the world in terms of speed.

“China’s Dinosaur research is currently at the world’s top level.” He Xin, a researcher at Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, has long been concerned about the study of Paleontology in China. He told reporters, “to some extent, the discovery and naming of new species is one of the most important achievements in dinosaur research. In addition, China is also in the forefront of the world in other paleontological research fields related to dinosaurs. After all, this is a ‘material science’, and we have very rich materials for research.”

After years of development, Chinese dinosaurs still seem to be a little “out of the ordinary” in public cognition, although they are “unparalleled” in the research field.

“Speaking of dinosaurs, everyone blurted out that Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, Brachiosaurus, etc. almost all lived in North America, and Chinese dinosaurs are almost unknown.” He Xin said, “China still has a lot of room to work on the interaction between mass culture and paleontology.”

As the “top stream” of paleontology, dinosaurs attract the attention of most people, but he Xin said that dinosaurs are only a door to understand the paleontological world.

“In addition to dinosaurs, there are other animals, invertebrates, plants, etc. in paleontology, which are very interesting. For example, the recently discovered fossil of pangolin in the Junggar basin has put forward a new explanation for the topic ‘why the neck of giraffe grows’.” He Xin told reporters.