The Fabulous Chinese Fossils
Liaoning, Shangdong, Guangdong, GuangZhou, Ghuizhou, Gansu and the Gobi Desert Inner Mongolia

Fossil Mall
Science Section

The Fossils of China
Liaoning, Shangdong, Guangdong, GuangZhou,
Ghuizhou, Gansu and the Gobi Desert of Inner Mongolia
"Home of the Feathered Dinosaurs"







Liaoning Province in Northwestern ChinaLiaoning Province: Far 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 Province.Map of Liaoning Province 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.

Fossils of Liaoning Province

Dromeosauridae: a raptor, maybe Sinornithosaurus

Exhibiting feather impressions

Sinovenator changii
Lower Cretaceous
Yixian Formation
Liaoning, China

This carnivorous Theropod provides evidence of dinosaur to bird lineage

Liaoxiornis delicatus
Liaoning, China

Psittacosaurus sp.
Lower Cretaceous, Barremian Stage
Yixian Formation
Liaoning, China


Liaoceratops yanzigouensis
Lower Cretaceous

A basal (primitive) neoceratopsian dinosaur

Liaoxi Formation
Liaoning, China
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 Nature)

Hymenoptera - Fossil Bee
Lower Cretaceous
Yixian Formation, Chao Yang, Liaoning Province of China
- Fossil Coclroach
Lower Cretaceous
Yixian Formation, Chaoyang, Liaoning Province of China

Fossils 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 times.

Oviraptors 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".

Allard, 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 5:78-88.
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. Science 283:1310-1314.
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 Biology 48:119-137.

Fossils of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia
Lacertilia, Gilmoreteiidae, Gilmoreteius sp.
Upper Cretaceous
Bayan Mandahu, Gobi Desert, Inner Mongolia
Ornithischia, Ceratopsia, Psittacosauridae; Psittacosaurus sinensis Lower Cretaceous
Nei Mongol, Inner Mongolia
Chondrostei; Acipenseriformes; Stichopterus popovi
Loer Cretaceous
Gobi Desert, Inner Mongolia

Chengjiang: Easily 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.

Chengjiang 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.