New Dinosaur Discoveries Link Continents And Evolutionary Periods

In Zhucheng, China, an inconspicuous sign entices visitors to “Rub, rub a dinosaur bone.” Local superstition says rubbing dinosaur bones brings good luck- Like a Jurassic, Chinese, Blarney stone. And, the superstition might have some truth.

Chinese paleontologists in Zhucheng have recently come upon archaeological gold. This region, where renowned paleontologist Xu Xing does his fieldwork, is said to be the largest and most impressive amalgamation of dinosaur bones in the world.

Xu’s body of work has influenced and altered the way scientists comprehend the history and evolution of these mystical creatures.

“I am quite certain that Xu Xing has described more new kinds of dinosaurs than anyone in the history of dinosaur paleontology,” says Peter Dodson, paleontology professor at the University of Pennsylvania and coeditor of The Dinosauria.

A seven-ton tyrannosaur is only one of nine new species found, predominantly by Xu, in 300-meter-long quarry. Their chaotic positioning is purportedly the aftermath of a mega-catastrophe from near 10 millennia ago.

“The site is quite superlative,” Dodson says. “I couldn’t even think of a story that would explain why all those fossils are there.” Though the cause of extinction is still a mystery, Xu thinks a landslide is what scattered the dinosaur bones so haphazardly and superficially.

The presence of similar dinosaur species in both North America and Asia proffer strong evidence of a land bridge crossing the Pacific Ocean during the Cretaceous period. Xu’s discoveries not only affirm such a link between the two continents, they also suggest there is more to find.

“There are very similar members on both sides of the divide,” says a leading researcher, “now we’ve got one, we should start finding others.”

  Source: DailyBeast