Monday, December 29, 2008

First Chinese Ceratopsid?

A dinosaur fossil field discovered this year in eastern China appears to be the largest in the world, a paleontologist told Xinhua on Monday.
From Window of China:

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 from the IVPP, the paleontologist in charge of the project.

The city has a major field of large hadrosaurs, discovered in the 1960s by a Chinese oil expedition. More than 50 tons of fossils have been discovered since then. The world's largest hadrosaurs 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 from the IVPP.

In the 15 sub-fields, other new genera of ankylosaurs, tyrannosaurs and coelosaurs were also found, Xu said.

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.

Thanks to David Evans for the lead.