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New Shandong Dinosaur Discoveries
This looked interesting, especially considering the mention of a "2 m skull of
a large ceratopsian."
Experts: Shandong dinosaur fossil field "world's largest"
www.chinaview.cn 2008-12-29 20:01:03
JINAN, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- A dinosaur fossil field discovered this year in
eastern China appears to be the largest in the world, a paleontologist told
Xinhua on Monday.
More than 7,600 fossils have been discovered so far in Zhucheng City in
eastern Shandong Province and the number is climbing, said Zhao Xijin, the
paleontologist in charge of the project.
Zhao is from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and
Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
"The discoveries are expected to contribute to research on the mystery of
dinosaur extinction," Zhao said. He added that the fossils dated mainly from
the Late Cretaceous of the Mesozoic Period, when dinosaurs became extinct.
The city has a major field of large hadrosaurus fossils, discovered in the
1960s by a Chinese oil expedition. More than 50 tons of fossils have been
discovered since then.
The world's largest hadrosaurus fossil was found here in the 1980s and
exhibited in the local museum.
A new fossil site was found during another mining expedition in March in
Longdu, Shunwang, Jiayue and Zhigou Towns. One field in Longdu is 300meters
long by 10m wide and 5m deep. More than 3,000 fossils have been found at that
site, among which new genera or species might be found, Zhao said.
A 2m skull of a large ceratopsian was found here, the first such discovery
outside of North America, said Xu Xing, researcher of the Institute of
Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.
In the 15 sub-fields, other new genera of ankylosaurus, tyrannosaurus and
ceolurus were also found, Xu said.
Zhao said the fossils had only the slimmest chance to have survived all
these years. According to current research, the region might have been a watery
area with abundant grass. That would have made it an ideal habitat for
duck-billed dinosaurs, Zhao said.
The geologists said there might have been a volcanic eruption that was
fatal to the dinosaurs and later a flood that brought the fossils to their
Mining had been suspended because of weather but would resume in the
spring, Zhao said.
Research on the findings would be published at the end of next year, he
said. A fossil park will be built in the region, local authorities said.