World’s ‘largest dinosaur fossil site’ discovered in China

December 30, 2008

A dinosaur fossil field discovered this year in eastern China appears to be the largest in the world, including the remains of an enormous “platypus”. Paleontologists have discovered 15 areas near Zhucheng city in eastern Shandong province that contain thousands of dinosaur bones, the Beijing News reported. More than 7,600 fossils have been discovered since digging began in March and the number is climbing, said Zhao Xijin, the paleontologist in charge of the project.  Zhao from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences said in a paper of the discovery:

“This group of fossilised dinosaurs is currently the largest ever discovered in the world… in terms of area.”

In one area measuring 300 metres (990 feet) by 10 metres, more than 3,000 bones were found, the report said.  Included in the find was the largest “platypus”  or “duck-billed dinosaur” in Chinese ever discovered measuring nine metres high with a wingspan wider than 16 metres, the report said. 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.

Scientists have also identified the remains of ankylosaurus, tyrannosaurus and coelurus, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

“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 65 million years ago, when dinosaurs became extinct.

Local authorities are saying a fossil park will be built in the region.


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