Posted by: danielfee | April 7, 2013

Weekly Travel Theme: Pale 04-07-2013

Here is a different take on the week travel theme “pale”. While some of the photos will qualify as pale in color, they are all based on the theme of “pale”ontology. On our trip to China we made a trip to the Liaoning Province, which is about a 4 hour train ride plus another 2 hours by bus, northeast of Beijing to the site where a farmer discovered feathered dinosaur fossils in  the mid 1990’s.

Sihetun Landscape Fossil Bird National Geopark - Chaoyang, China

Sihetun Landscape Fossil Bird National Geopark – Chaoyang, China

Here I am at the entrance to the Sihetun Landscape Fossil Bird National Geopark in Chaoyang City-Liaoning Province, China. We had to wait for the guy with the key to come unlock the gate. This is not what you would call a big tourist area!

Our Group at the Fossil Site

Our Group at the Fossil Site

This is our small group of amature paleontologists, eight of us plus our two guides, as we walk out to the fossil site to see what we might be able to find.

Lagerstätte - sedimentary deposit

Lagerstätte – sedimentary deposit

The fossils were preserved in a Lagerstätte – a sedimentary deposit. The area had repeatedly been smothered in volcanic ash produced by eruptions in Inner Mongolia 124 million years ago. The fine-grained ash preserved the living organisms that it buried in fine detail. The area was teeming with life, with millions of leaves, Angiosperm (the oldest known flower), insects, fish, frogs, salamanders, mammals, turtles, and lizards discovered to date. But the most important discoveries at Liaoning have been a host of feathered dinosaur fossils, with a steady stream of new finds filling in the picture of the dinosaur–bird connection and adding more to theories of the evolutionary development of feathers and flight.

Looking for Fossils

Looking for Fossils

Insect Fossil

Insect Fossil

We spent approximately 30 minutes digging around to see what we could find. We didn’t make any big discoveries, but we did find plenty of insect and leaf fossils. After a short visit to the small on-site museum, we headed back to the big museum in Chaoyang where some of the best fossil discoveries were displayed.

Me at the entrance to the Chaoyang Paleontological Museum

Me at the entrance to the Chaoyang Paleontological Museum

Psittacosaurus Fossil

Psittacosaurus Fossil

Sinosauropteryx Fossil

Sinosauropteryx Fossil

Pair of salamanders

Pair of Salamanders Fossil

Turtle Fossil

Turtle Fossil

Small Mammal Fossil

Small Mammal or Reptile Fossil

Archaefructus Liaoninggensis

Archaefructus Liaoninggensis

This last fossil is Archaefructus Liaoninggensis, the one that they recreated out of paver stones at the museum entry. The Archaefructus is an extinct genus of herbaceous aquatic seed plants with 3 known species. Fossil material assigned to this genus originates from the Yixian Formation in northeastern China, originally dated as late Jurassic but now thought to be approximately 125 million years old, or early Cretaceous in age. Even with its revised age, Archaefructus has been proposed to be one of the earliest known Genus of flowering plants.

I hope you enjoyed my take on this weeks travel theme “pale”ontology.

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Responses

  1. Love the turtle fossil. Long before there were Teenage Mutant Ninjas…


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