Zhucheng fossil site

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The Zhucheng fossil site is in Zhucheng, a city in the Shandong Province of China. It is perhaps the greatest treasury of dinosaur fossils found in the 20th century.

Zhucheng has been an important site for dinosaur excavation since 1960. The local community used the calcium-rich fossils for traditional village remedies used to treat muscle cramps and other minor ailments.[1]

The world's largest hadrosaur fossil was found in Zhucheng in the 1980s, and is on display in the local museum.[2] Scientists have collected more than 50 metric tons (55 short tons) of fossils since 1960.[3]

Many dinosaur bones were smuggled out of the city. In 2008 Australia returned hundreds of kilograms of Chinese dinosaur fossils, including dinosaur fossil eggs. These fossils were recovered during a sting operation carried out on warehouses and cargo containers.[4][5]

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

—Professor Zhao Xijin, palaeontologist in charge of the excavations from Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology., BBC.[6]

The palaeontologists believe they have found one of the biggest sites of dinosaur remains from a massive excavation pit. The fossilized bones date to the Upper Cretaceous just before to the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.[6] The findings also include the remains of a 20 meter (66 ft) hadrosaurid, a record size for the duck-billed dinosaur.[1] A fossilized skull of a large ceratopsian was also found along with bones which belong to club-tailed ankylosaurs.[1]

Such a high concentration of fossil bones in such a small area suggests they died together and suddenly.[6] Scientists believe a volcanic eruption may have killed the dinosaurs, and a subsequent flood carried the fossils to Zhucheng, which may have been a wetland covered in grass.[2]

The local authorities in Shandong are making plans to set up a fossil park in the area.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Big dinosaur fossils find in China". Press Trust of India. NDTV Convergence. 31 December 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Chinese scientists claim discovery of earth's largest dinosaur fossil site". CBC news. 30 December 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
  3. "Experts: Shandong dinosaur fossil field "world's largest"". chinaview.cn. XINHUA. 29 December 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
  4. "China finds "largest dinosaur fossil site" in world". Reuters. 30 December 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
  5. "One good fossil deserves another: China's gift to Australia", Brisbane Times, 24 May 2008
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Steve Jackson (31 December 2008). "China finds major dinosaur site". BBC News. Retrieved 31 December 2008.