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Chinese marine reptiles: new finds and fresh fakes

From: Ben Creisler

In case these items have not been mentioned yet:

Shi-xue Hu, Qi-yue Zhang, Zhong-Qiang Chen, Chang-yong 
Zhou, Tao Lü, Tao Xie, Wen Wen, Jin-yuan Huang and 
Michael J. Benton, 2010
The Luoping biota: exceptional preservation, and new 
evidence on the Triassic recovery from end-Permian mass 
Proceedings of the Royal Society: B (advance online 
doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.2235 

The timing and nature of biotic recovery from the 
devastating end-Permian mass extinction (252 Ma) are much 
debated. New studies in South China suggest that complex 
marine ecosystems did not become re-established until the 
middle?late Anisian (Middle Triassic), much later than 
had been proposed by some. The recently discovered 
exceptionally preserved Luoping biota from the Anisian 
Stage of the Middle Triassic, Yunnan Province and 
southwest China shows this final stage of community 
assembly on the continental shelf. The fossil assemblage 
is a mixture of marine animals, including abundant 
lightly sclerotized arthropods, associated with fishes, 
marine reptiles, bivalves, gastropods, belemnoids, 
ammonoids, echinoderms, brachiopods, conodonts and 
foraminifers, as well as plants and rare arthropods from 
nearby land. In some ways, the Luoping biota rebuilt the 
framework of the pre-extinction latest Permian marine 
ecosystem, but it differed too in profound ways. New 
trophic levels were introduced, most notably among top 
predators in the form of the diverse marine reptiles that 
had no evident analogues in the Late Permian. The Luoping 
biota is one of the most diverse Triassic marine fossil 
Lagerstätten in the world, providing a new and early 
window on recovery and radiation of Triassic marine 
ecosystems some 10 Myr after the end-Permian mass 

For summaries and photos:




Unfortunately, the importance of Chinese marine reptiles 
fossils has also led to a boom in fakes a la 

Richard Stone, 2010. 
Altering the Past: China's Faked Fossils Problem.
Science 330 (6012):1740-1741 
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6012.1740

Specialists and collectors around the world have long 
decried the flood of sham fossils pouring out of China. 
But Science has learned that many composites and fakes 
are now finding their way into Chinese museums, 
especially local museums. One paleontologist estimates 
that more than 80% of marine reptile specimens now on 
display in Chinese museums have been "altered or 
artificially combined to varying degrees." One 
consequence of the fakery is an erosion of trust in 
museums, which are supposed to enlighten?not con?the 
public. Scholars, too, pay a price: They waste time 
sifting authentic specimens from counterfeit chaff. And a 
genuine blockbuster fossil can be destroyed by attempts 
to enhance its appeal. 

Also on marine reptiles: Pliosaur skull CT-scan