Chinese scientists hopeful giant ‘fossil wall’ can shed new light on dinosaurs
Startling find may still conceal specimens that could reveal much about evolutionary history of Jurassic era megafauna
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-metre-long fossil wall, two metres deep and eight metres high, will help fill a void of research on dinosaurs’ evolutionary history, according to a report from Xinhua.
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.
These fossils belong to five major dinosaur categories including ornithopods, sauropods and stegosaurs.
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 Xing, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
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.
The researchers believe that more dinosaur fossils might be found at least 20 metres beneath the fossil wall.
The next stage in the research was to find out whether the fossils belonged to already known species are were new types, the report said.
Local residents of Yunyang county apparently have a long history of discovering dinosaurs fossils in the past. Many towns and villages include in their name the word “long” which means “dinosaur” or “dragon”.