and away, the hottest spot on earth for Paleontology is China.
Fossils abound in this huge nation, and among the famous localities
are the many formations in the remote Northwestern Liaoning
According to the January 12, 2001 issue of the prestigious
journal Science, "Paleontologists are flocking to China,
which has beefed up its support of the field to take advantage
of troves of superbly preserved specimens". Fossils unearthed
in Liaoning Province, for example, may help end one of the
most high-powered debates in paleontology--whether birds evolved
from dinosaurs.Phenomenal finds in the past few years in Liaoning
include Liaoxiornis delicatus the smallest bird known from
the Mesozoic, and Hyphalosaurus sinohydrosaurus (Nature 401,
262, 1999) a long-necked diapsid reptile. The famous bird,
Confuciusornis sanctus, was described in 1995 from three partial
skeletons, but Chinese workers have discovered many new and
complete specimens that show almost all aspects of the skeletal
anatomy and much of the plumage. Then there is Protopteryx
fengningensis (Science: Volume 290, Number 5498, Issue of
8 Dec 2000, pp. 1955-1959). Many more are cued for description
in the literature.
of Liaoning Province
a raptor, maybe Sinornithosaurus
carnivorous Theropod provides evidence of dinosaur to
Lower Cretaceous, Barremian Stage
A basal (primitive) neoceratopsian dinosaur
The dog-size creature is the oldest, smallest, and most
primitive of the neoceratopsians, one of the two main
lineages of horned dinosaurs. (see March 21 issue of
Hymenoptera - Fossil
Yixian Formation, Chao Yang, Liaoning Province of China
- Fossil Coclroach
Yixian Formation, Chaoyang, Liaoning Province of China
of the Gobi Desert, Mongolia:
Fossils in the Gobi desert of Mongolia were first discovered
in the 1920's by scientists from the American Museum of Natural
History who were looking for proof that Central Asia was the
cradle of human evolution, but instead inadvertently discovered
the vast dinosaur fossil deposits. The expeditions that ended
in the late 1920's because of political turmoil, resumed in
1990. The vast area has been labeled a fossil Vallhalla, and
indeed the dinosaur discoveries made there are astonishing.
Particularly, the nests and eggs supported new ideas about
how dinosaurs lived and nurtured their young. The fossils
of the Gobi have also provided critical supportive information
linking dinosaurs and their direct descendants, the birds.
They have also yielded vast data regarding primate and human
lineage owing to discoveries of a large diversity of Cretaceous
placental mammals, the Eutheria; these diminutive and nocturnal
creatures would mainly survive the forthcoming extinction
of the dinosaurs and their ancestors would radiate to modern
come exclusively from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia. Oviraptor
was discovered by Roy Chapman Andrews during a 1923 expedition
near a nest of what paleontologists first thought were Protoceratops.
However, an Oviraptor found crouched on a nest in 1993 supports
the theory that Oviraptor was a dutiful parent and probably
not deserving of its name, which means "egg stealer".
M. W., B. E. McNiff, M. M. Miyamoto. 1996. Support for interordinal
eutherian relationships with an emphasis on primates and their
Archontan relatives. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Foote, M., J. P. Hunter, C. M. Janis, and J. J. Sepkoski.
1999. Evolutionary and preservational constraints on origins
of biologic groups: Divergence times of eutherian mammals.
Springer, M. S. and W. W. deJong. 2001. Which mammalian supertree
to bark up? Science 291:1709-1711.
Waddell, P.J., Y. Cao, M. Hasegawam and D. P. Mindell. 1999.
Assessing the Cretaceous superordinal divergence times within
birds and placental mammals by using whole mitochondrial protein
sequences and an extended statistical framework. Systematic
of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia
Gilmoreteiidae, Gilmoreteius sp.
Bayan Mandahu, Gobi Desert, Inner Mongolia
Ceratopsia, Psittacosauridae; Psittacosaurus sinensis
Nei Mongol, Inner Mongolia
Acipenseriformes; Stichopterus popovi
Gobi Desert, Inner Mongolia
rivaling the famous Burgess Shale of Canada, the Chengjiang
assemblage of diverse early Cambrian fossils is of paramount
importance to paleontology. It is an exemplary lagerstatte
with spectacularly preserved organisms including those with
soft bodies. Chengjiang was accidentally discovered in 1984
near Chengjiang, in Yunnan Province, South China, and is part
of the Qiongzhusi Formation belonging to the Qiongzhusi stage
of the late Lower Cambrian. The biota with soft body parts
occurs some 25 meters above the earliest trilobites of genus
Parabadiella, allowing is temporal placement within the Cambrian.
Like many lagerstatte, Chengjiang strata that are high in
carbon suggest an aqueous environment having anoxic conditions
and low bioturbation.
contains an enormous diversity taxa, including algae, anemones,
medusiform metazoans, chondrophorines, sponges, chancelloriids,
priapulid worms, hyolithids, ectoprocts, inarticulate brachiopods,
annelids, lobopodians, trilobites and other trilobite-like
arthropods, hemichordates. More interesting are what are possibly
some of the earliest chordates along with other forms that
cannot definitely be assigned to any eatablished groups.