Giant Dinosaur ‘Fossil Wall’ Discovered in China

A researcher cleans a dinosaur bone at the ‘fossil wall’ in Puan Township. Photo: Xinhua

Scientists have unearthed a large dinosaur fossil site in southwestern China.

Paleontologists say 5,000 dinosaur fossils have been excavated from a "fossil wall". The wall is 150 meters long, eight meters high and two meters thick.

A startling find may conceal specimens that could reveal much about evolutionary history of Jurassic era. Palaeontologists in southwest China who unearthed possibly the world’s largest fossil wall of Jurassic-era dinosaurs are hopeful that the discovery can shed new light on the creatures’ evolutionary history, Chinese media reported. The 150-meter-long fossil wall, two meters deep and eight meters high will help fill a void of research on dinosaurs’ evolutionary history.

The unearthed fossils belong to at least five dinosaur categories, such as ornithopods, sauropods and stegosaurs, and date back to the Jurassic period, according to researcher Xu Xing with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Many fossils at Pu'an belong to the middle Jurassic period and dinosaur fossils from that time are scarce worldwide, Xu said. "The Jurassic 'wall' at Pu'an is the largest in the world."

The Chongqing government has earmarked more than 17 million yuan (2.5 million U.S. dollars) for protection and  excavation of the site. The fossils were discovered in Puan township, Yunyang county in the Municipality of Chongqing after a local farmer first came up them by accident in January 2015 and later reported them to authorities.

The site was more than 160 million years old and most of the fossils could trace back to the mid-Jurassic period, which is a breakthrough in dinosaur research as good archaeological records from the period are scarce world wide, according to Xu.

Xu said these dinosaurs might have lived along river banks and died during natural disasters. As the rivers bearing their remains slowly merged into larger lakes, the bones gradually were preserved as fossils over millions of years.

A researcher cleans a dinosaur bone at the ‘fossil wall’ in Puan Township. Photo: Xinhua
Fossilized dinosaur bones, between 180 and 160 million years old.
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