China welcomes global support for dinosaur park

Updated 2018-01-22 16:24:00

China said it welcomes global efforts to design and build a dinosaur theme park at the site of a world-class dinosaur fossil cluster in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

The park, which will be located in Yunyang county, Chongqing, would focus on environmental protection, recreating the landscape of the Jurassic period, and promote scientific research into the fossils, according to a statement sent to the Global Times by the local government.

"The theme park is expected to be designed and developed to offer a fantastic journey into the world of dinosaurs based on the rare fossil clusters combined with the best modern resources," Qin Changde, head of the county, said in the statement.

In early 2015, residents in Pu'an village, Yunyang, reported finding suspected dinosaur fossils in the area. The local government immediately took temporary measures to protect the fossils.

In October 2016, a joint team of experts organized by the municipal government officially began the excavation of fossils at the Yunyang site.

"Initial excavation and evaluation found a large scale and wide variety of fossils in Yunyang, with great research value and the ability to promote scientific literacy among the public," said Xu Xing from the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.

The site is characterized by densely distributed fossils of dinosaurs and other species, such as turtles, from a wide time span in a large geographical area.

The excavation identified fossils within five kilometers. The exposed length in the core area of dinosaur fossils is 550 meters. A 150 meter-long, 2-meter-thick, 8 meter-high "dinosaur fossil wall" was excavated at the site and a large quantity of dinosaur fossils was also found under the fossil wall.

Xu, said the late Lias to Middle Jurassic was the key period for the evolution of dinosaurs. The emergence of many sub-groups and some important features, for example, the evolution of large-bodied dinosaurs, took place during this period.

Abundant fossils have been unearthed in a widely distributed area within Chongqing Municipality. Large quantities and wide varieties of dinosaur fossils have been found in 66 areas of 24 counties and townships.

The Chongqing municipal government approved the Yunyang Pu'an Dinosaur Geopark in May 2017.

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