Posted by: danielfee | June 14, 2012

Travel Photo of the Day 06-14-2012

Psittacosaurus fossil “Eternal Love” – Chaoyang, China

Chaoyang is known as China’s “fossil city”. It is located in the Liaoning Province in northeast China, approximately a four hour train ride from Beijing. During the 1990’s many new and unique fossils were discovered in this region. Some of the finds completely revolutionized the palaeontology community’s ideas of dinosaurs and shed new light on the origin of birds. It was the discovery of  feathered dinosaur  fossils that caused all the excitement. The fossils have been dated to 124 million years ago from the lower Cretaceous period. At that time there was a shallow lake in the area that was buried under mud and volcanic ash which preserved  the skeletons of many creatures in tact. The fine shale formations created by the ash even preserved the traces of their feathers.The Chaoyang region has a total population of 3.4 million, which is considered a small city in China, and is not a big tourist destination; unless of course you are into fossils and dinosaurs, which is what drew us to this area. We made a field trip to the Sihetun Geopark Fossil Site where the feathered dinosaur fossils were first discovered, followed by a trip to the Chaoyang Paleontological Museum where many of the best fossils are displayed. Although it is not a “feathered dinosaur”, the show piece at the museum is a skeletal fossil of two Psittacosaurus dinosaurs who were caught in the act of mating for all eternity. Hence the name of the exhibit  “Eternal Love.”


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