|Dr. Xu Xing (left), yours-truly (centre) Prof. Peter Dodson (right)|
The GIANT fossil horizon exposed in Zhucheng is hard to understand...there is simply no simple mechanism for emplacing such vast quantities of bone, without smashing-up the bones in the process...as these bones are beautiful! Its as if a prehistoric burcher has just thrown-out (over several thousand square feet) the butchered bones of the day. We are not talking small animals either, as these are sauropod-sized hadrosaurs! The deposits are mostly comprised of the disarticulated remains of the hadrosaur Shantungosaurus giganteus, that were first discovered in the early 1960's, but not named until 1973. The site was locally called Longgujian, literally translating as "dragon bone gully"....a very apt name! At a mere 66 feet long (yes, thats 20 metres!) this is a very hefty dinosaur....and its a hadrosaur! This late Cretaceous aged beastie must have been the largest of its kind ever to walk on the planet.
|How many museum displays need a car to get from one end to the other?|
|More bone than you can shake a stick at (and thats whats been exposed so far!)|
|Playing with dinosaur tracks in Argentina back in 2001|
I have to be honest that on my last visit I missed seeing the building of the museum and its contents, a function of something I ate...in fact, I missed two days. My friend and colleague Prof. Peter Dodson did not suffer at all from anything eaten on the month-log tour. Rumour has it, his nickname in some quarters is, 'The Badger 5000 Waste-Disposal Unit'....a tad unfair, but I have to admit, I have never seen Peter refuse food...ever!
|Too much bone to take-in, even a bit of skull...see if you can spot it?|
|Natural sunset....no photoshop needed here!|