Creatures discovered in China

Oldest actinopterygian from China provides new evidence for origin of ray-finned fishes

May 20, 2016

  • Osteichthyans, or bony fishes, comprise two categories, each containing over 32,000 living species: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fishes and tetrapods) and Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes). Nevertheless, actinopterygians have an obscure early evolutionary history. The earliest definitive actinopterygian is the Middle Devonian (Eifelian) Cheirolepis, with earlier candidates generally represented by fragments subject to differing phylogenetic interpretations. By contrast, earliest Devonian deposits yield a diversity of lobe-finned fishes and recent discoveries from China extend their origin into the late Silurian. The Early Devonian (Lochkovian) Xitun Formation of Yunnan, China, provides remarkable fossils to illustrate the evolutionary origins of individual sarcopterygian lineages, but apparently lacks any actinopterygians. Meemannia is the newest—and least understood—member of this fauna. Represented by four isolated skull roofs and a referred jaw, Meemannia presents an intriguing mosaic of characteristics: histology interpreted as a precursor to the “cosmine” of rhipidistian sarcopterygians (lungfishes plus tetrapods); an undivided braincase and skull roof resembling that of actinopterygians. Previous phylogenetic analyses placed Meemannia as the earliest-diverging sarcopterygian, based on histological features.


Hammerhead marine reptile with teeth like needles was actually vegetarian

May 6 2016

  • Appearances can be deceiving. An ancient marine reptile that swam the seas long before the time of the dinosaurs sported a distinctive hammerhead jaw, along with two intimidating groups of teeth – some like chisels, others like needles. Scientists discovered fossil remains of this strange animal in 2014 in current-day southern China. It appears to have roamed the seas some 242 million years ago during the Middle Triassic. Measuring around nine feet long from head to tail, Atopodentatus unicus has a somewhat elongated neck, strong fore-limbs and a surprisingly small head for its size. But as implied by its name, which means “unique strangely toothed,” the standout features of A. unicus appeared to be its jaw and its many weirdly shaped teeth.

China Bug Declared World’s Longest Insect

May 5, 2016

  • A bug over half a meter (1.6 feet) long discovered in southern China has been declared the world’s longest insect, state media said Thursday. A stick insect measuring 62.4 centimeters (24.6 inches) found two years ago in the southern province of Guangxi has broken the record for length among the world’s 807,625 known insects, the official Xinhua agency said, citing the Insect Museum of West China.

Six new fossil species form ‘snapshot’ of primates stressed by ancient climate change

May 5, 2016

  • In a study to be published this week in the journal Science, researchers describe unearthing a “mother lode” of a half-dozen fossil primate species in southern China. These primates eked out an existence just after the Eocene-Oligocene transition, some 34 million years ago. It was a time when drastic cooling made much of Asia inhospitable to primates, slashing their populations and rendering discoveries of such fossils especially rare.

Dragons out of the dark: 6 new species of dragon millipedes discovered in Chinese caves

April 6, 2016

  • Six new species of Chinese dragon millipedes, including species living exclusively in caves, are described as a result of an international cooperation of research institutes from China, Russia and Germany. These cave species have unusually long legs and antennae, with one of them resembling a stick insect, only with a lot more legs. Others appear ghostly white and semi-transparent. The study is published in the open-access journal ZooKeys.

New type of dinosaur eggs found from Early Cretaceous of Gansu Province, China

April 5, 2016

  • Dinosaur eggs from the Lower Cretaceous are worldwide rare as compared to those from Upper Cretaceous deposits. In China, they were only reported in Liaoning Province. In a paper published in the latest issue of Vertebrata PalAsiatica, paleontologists described a new type of dinosaur eggs from the Lower Cretaceous Hekou Group in the Lanzhou-Minhe Basin, northwestern China, and established a new oogenus and a new oospecies, within a new oofamily. This finding has important implications for understanding the diversity and the geological and geographical distribution of Early Cretaceous dinosaur eggs in China, as well as the evolution of dinosaur eggshell structure.

New hadrosauroid dinosaur found from the late Cretaceous of Shanxi, China

March 31, 2016

  • In the evolution from non-hadrosaurid hadrosauroids to hadrosaurids, their dentaries acquired several key innovations. A new non-hadrosaurid hadrosauroid dinosaur, reported in the latest issue of of Vertebrata PalAsiatica, provides numerous important anatomical features to depict its taxonomic status and systematic relationship, implying incredible diversities and attempts close to the origin of Hadrosauridae. The new taxon is recovered from the Upper Cretaceous Huiquanpu Formation of Tianzhen County, Shanxi Province in northern China by the Shanxi Museum of Geological and Mineral Science and Technology (now Shanxi Museum of Geology) in 2008, and represented by an almost complete right dentary with dentition.


Chinese scientists find Jurassic herbaceous angiosperm plant fossil


  • Paleobotanists have found fossils of perhaps world’s earliest herbaceous angiosperm plant from the mid-Jurassic period (more than 164 million years ago) in north China’s Inner Mongolia. The finding was published on the latest English edition of Acta Geologica Sinica, an academic journal owned by the Geological Society of China. The plant — Juraherba bodae — was found near in the southeast corner of Inner Mongolia by professor Han Gang of the palaeontological center of Bohai University in Liaoning Province.

Scientists discover 16.5km-long underground cave with rivers, waterfalls and wildlife species in southern China

07 March, 2016

  • A team of Chinese and French geologists have discovered a gigantic 16.5km-long undergound cave in southern China, mainland media reports. The cave in Guangxi province’s Donglan county, is 420 metres deep in places and also includes lakes, rivers, waterfalls and different-shaped stalagmites, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.


New basal bird from China reveals the morphological diversity in early birds

March 2, 2016

  • Over the past three decades, representatives of all major Mesozoic bird groups have been reported from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota of northeastern China. A new species, Chongmingia zhengi, reported in the journal of Scientific Reports on 25 January 2016, sheds light on the early evolution of birds. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that it is basal to the dominant Mesozoic avian clades Enantiornithes and Ornithuromorpha, and represents a new basal avialan lineage. This new discovery adds to our knowledge regarding the phylogenetic differentiation and morphological diversity in early avian evolution.

Giant ‘bird-like dinosaur’ remains to go on show in Nottingham

21 February 2016

  • The remains the largest feathered creature ever discovered are to go on display in Nottingham after leaving China for the first time. Gigantoraptor, which was four metres tall and eight metres long, will be one of several dinosaur specimens to feature at Wollaton Hall next summer. Dr George Baxter, of The University of Nottingham, said the exhibition was “an enormous coup for the city”.

The ‘ugliest fossil reptiles’ that roamed China

February 19, 2016

  • Long before the dinosaurs, hefty herbivores called pareiasaurs ruled the Earth. Now, for the first time, a detailed investigation of all Chinese specimens of these creatures – often described as the ‘ugliest fossil reptiles’ – has been published by a University of Bristol palaeontologist. Professor Benton said: “Up to now, six species of pareiasaurs had been described from China, mainly from Permian rocks along the banks of the Yellow River between Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces. I was able to study all of these specimens in museums in Beijing, and then visit the original localities. It seems clear there were three species and these lived over a span of one to two million years.” The skeleton of Shihtienfenia, a large pareiasaur from the latest Permian of Shanxi Province, China. The skeleton outline is based on close relatives from Russia, and known bones are shaded.

Sauropod swimmers or walkers?

February 18, 2016

  • An international team of scientists, led by the China University of Geosciences in Beijing and including palaeontologists from the University of Bristol, has shed new light on some unusual dinosaur tracks from northern China. The tracks appear to have been made by four-legged sauropod dinosaurs yet only two of their feet have left prints behind. Previous studies of such trackways have suggested that the dinosaurs, which were far too big to walk on their hind legs, might have been swimming. Scientists agree that dinosaurs could swim – nearly all animals can – but evidence for swimming has been disputed. It has been suggest that trackways in which only the front or hind feet are imprinted into the sediment could have been made by swimming dinosaurs, their bodies buoyant in deep water while they paddled along with their arms or legs.

Scientists identify butterfly-like insect from the Jurassic age

Feb. 3, 2016

  • Scientists say a newly discovered insect named Oregramma illecebrosa looks — and probably acted — like a butterfly, but predates the earliest iterations of the winged insect by 40 million years. The butterfly-like species is a member of an extinct “lacewing” lineage classified within the genus Kalligrammatid. It boast large wings with “eye spots” similar to those seen on modern butterflies. Lacewings also used a long tongue to retrieve nectar from flowers. Researchers discovered the fossils among 165-million-year-old lake deposits in northeastern China and eastern Kazakhstan. They serve as an example of convergent evolution, whereby two distantly related species or groups independently adapt or develop similar anatomical features and behaviors.

Earliest-known treeshrew fossil found in Yunnan, China

January 26, 2016

  • Treeshrews are widely considered a “living model” of an ancestral primate, and have long been called”living fossils”. Actual fossils of treeshrews, however, are extremely rare. In a paper published 14 January in Scientific Reports (6), Drs. LI Qiang and NI Xijun, Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, reported a new fossil species of Ptilocercus treeshrew from the early Oligocene (over 34 million years ago) of China that represents the oldest definitive fossil record of the crown group of treeshrews and nearly doubles the temporal length of their fossil record.

Domestic cats in China arrived 5,500 years ago independently of neighbouring lands

January 26, 2016

  • Cats were domesticated in China around 5,500 years ago independently of their neighbours in the Near East and Egypt. Analysis of fossilised cat bones from early agricultural settlements in China show the species of the first domestic cats differed from those seen in other areas – showing they were not brought to China from nearby lands, where cats had been domesticated thousands of years earlier.

New species of bird discovered in India and China

January 20, 2016

  • A new species of bird has been described in north-eastern India and adjacent parts of China by a team of scientists from Sweden, China, the US, India and Russia, led by Professor Per Alström, Uppsala University and Swedish University of Agricultural Science. The bird has been named the Himalayan Forest Thrush, Zoothera salimalii. The scientific name honours the great Indian ornithologist Dr Sálim Ali (1896-1987), in recognition of his huge contributions to the development of Indian ornithology and nature conservation.

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Prosthetic Leg with Hoofed Foot Discovered in Ancient Chinese Tomb

January 11, 2016

  • The 2,200-year-old remains of a man with a deformed knee attached to a prosthetic leg tipped with a horse hoof have been discovered in a tomb in an ancient cemetery near Turpan, China. The tomb holds the man and a younger woman, who may or may not have known the male occupant, scientists say.

New enantiornithine bird with an aerodynamic tail found in China

January 4, 2016

  • A new species of Mesozoic bird was published on December 31 in Current Biology by a collaboration of scientists from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Shandong Tianyu Museum of Nature, providing strong evidence that enantiornithines possessed aerodynamic rectricial fans.

China Identifies New Dinosaur with Bow-shaped Hip Bone


  • Paleontologists in east China’s Shandong Province have named a new dinosaur species in the genus Leptoceratops after its unique hip bone. The partial skeleton of Ischioceratops zhuchengensis, which lived during the Cretaceous Period, the last dinosaur era, was found in the world’s largest dinosaur fossil field at Zhucheng, according to the local dinosaur research center

Hyenas Lived in SW China 4 Mln Years Ago, Research Confirms


  • A group of fossils discovered on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau have been confirmed as pliocene-era bone-crushing hyenas, which date back some four million years, a Chinese archaeologist said Wednesday. The fossilized teeth and lower jaws were discovered in 2012 at an altitude of 4,195 meters in the Zanda basin, southwest of Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China. After years of research by Chinese and U.S. scientists, both sides agreed that the fossils date from the Pliocene Epoch (five to three million years ago), making this discovery the first on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, according to the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Thigh bone adds to mystery over 14,000-year-old Homo species

December 17, 2015

  • A 14,000-year-old upper leg bone found in southwest China may come from a prehuman line of hominids that survived in East Asia long enough to mate with Homo sapiens, a controversial study concludes. This partial limb contains an unusual mix of features that link it to various extinct members of the Homo genus, including Homo erectus from more than 1.5 million years ago, say paleoanthropologist Darren Curnoe of the University of New South Wales in Sydney and his colleagues. It’s difficult to assign a species to the Chinese specimen, but the bone doesn’t come from a modern human, the researchers assert December 17 in PLOS ONE.

Scientists Discover 530-million-year-old Fossils Of Ancient, Microscopic Worms

December 11th 2015

  • A team of Virginia Tech researchers have discovered fossils of kinorhynch worms – commonly known as mud dragons – dating back more than 530 million years. The historic find – made in South China – fills a huge gap in the known fossil record of kinorhynchs, small invertebrate animals that are related to arthropods, featuring exoskeletons and segmented bodies, but not jointed legs.

Triceratops gets a cousin: Researchers identify another horned dinosaur species

December 9, 2015

  • The Ceratopsia family is growing again. Researchers have described a new species of plant-eating dinosaur, Hualianceratops wucaiwanensis, that stood on its hind feet and was about the size of a spaniel. It is similar in age to the oldest-known member of the “horned dinosaurs,” Yinlong downsi, although both are hornless.

180m-year-old Dinosaur Fossils Discovered in SW China


  • Two dinosaur fossils from the Jurassic period have been discovered in Yunnan Province, southwest China. The two fossils have been identified as Lufengosaurus Magnus and Lufengosaurus Huenei by the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology. They were discovered during road work in Lufeng County, Yunnan Province, last month. The Lufengosaurus Magnus fossil is more than five meters long. With three sacral vertebras, 13 dorsal vertebras, 22 coccygeal vertebras and complete hind legs, it is estimated to be nine meters long in full length, explained Wang Tao, director of the department for geological heritage protection under the Lufeng Land Resources Bureau.

The Chinese ‘mud dragon’ that helped change the world? Spiky, armoured worm that lived half a billion years ago may unriddle Cambrian explosion

03 December, 2015

  • A recently discovered worm whose ancestors have been dubbed “mud dragons” may have been deaf and blind, but it shows how even tiny prehistoric invertebrates could be intimidating when Mother Nature wanted them to be. A team of Chinese researchers found the fossilised remains of Eokinorhynchus rarus, which is believed to have lived on the seabed around 535 million years ago, in southwestern China’s Sichuan province, an area famous more for its pandas than creepy crawlies or crustaceans.

Xiaochelys ningchengensis: Fossil Discovery Reveals New Species of Jehol Turtle

Dec 3, 2015

  • The Jehol Biota is a rich Cretaceous ecosystem preserved in a multi-layered rock formation cropping out in the Chinese provinces of Liaoning, Hebei and Inner Mongolia. A huge variety of ancient organisms became fossilized there 125 million years ago. Over the course of the last two decades, a large number of turtle fossils were recovered from the Jehol Biota but very few of them were described. Dr Chang-Fu Zhou of the Shenyang Normal University and Dr Márton Rabi of the University of Tübingen and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences have now identified a new species of Jehol turtle and named it Xiaochelys ningchengensis.

Eat a paleo peach: First fossil peaches discovered in southwest China

December 1, 2015

  • The sweet, juicy peaches we love today might have been a popular snack long before modern humans arrived on the scene. Scientists have found eight well-preserved fossilized peach endocarps, or pits, in southwest China dating back more than two and a half million years. Despite their age, the fossils appear nearly identical to modern peach pits.

6 million-year-old elephant skull discovered in China

November 08, 2015

  • A skull of an elephant species dating back to around six million years has been discovered in southwest China’s Yunnan Province.The fossil was found in Shuitangba in Zhaotong City in a joint study carried out by the US and Chinese archaeologists. Archaeologists from CAS and Pennsylvania State University jointly conducted the study. Previously, the earliest fossil of the Chinese mastodon had been found in north China’s Shanxi Province. The latest discovery indicates the origin of the species may be in Yunnan and surrounding areas, Wang said.

Student discovers rare fossil in China

October 29, 2015

  • Beijing: A student has discovered a 120 million-year-old fossil that belonged to an ancestor of the modern long-horned grasshopper, the media reported on Thursday. The fossil, found in Yumen in Gansu province, preserved a 3-centimetre section of the ancient insect’s wing, reported. “Most insects only have their wings preserved in the fossils,” said Wang He, student at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who unearthed the fossil, “their bodies, unlike the wings, were easily decomposed or eaten by other creatures”.

Ancient teeth found in China challenge modern human migration theory

October 15, 2015

  • Scientists in southern China have discovered human teeth dating back at least 80,000 years — 20,000 years earlier than modern humans were previously believed to have left Africa to migrate around the world. The 47 teeth were found in a cave in Daoxian, in China’s Hunan province, and are the strongest proof yet that modern humans first migrated from Africa to Asia 80,000 to 120,000 years ago, according to a study published in the journal, Nature.

New enantiornithine bird reveals the refinement for cranial kinesis occurring early in avian evolution

October 8, 2015

  • Enantiornithes is the most diverse Mesozoic birds. Approximately half of the known global diversity of Enantiornithes is from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota of China. The Jehol birds are usually complete and articulated, but compressed in two dimensions. Consequently, key features regarding some skeletal elements, particularly the gracile skull bones, are obscured by crushed and overlying elements. Thus, detailed cranial morphology remains largely unknown for enantiornithines. In a paper published online August 21 in Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, Dr. WANG Min, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his colleagues reported a new enantiornithine bird from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota. Although incomplete, the skeleton is disarticulated and several cranial elements are exquisitely well preserved in their entirety, providing morphological information that had previously been poorly understood.

New discovery of Late Miocene hipparion fossils from Baogeda Ula, Inner Mongolia, China

October 8, 2015

  • Hipparionine horses were extensively distributed in North America and the Old World, and they were especially abundant during the Late Miocene and Pliocene in Eurasia. As a result, Hipparion fossils are important biological markers for stratigraphic correlations as well as climatic and environmental reconstructions. The fossils of the genus Hipparion are the most representative in the Late Miocene and Pliocene terrestrial strata of China, and their rich specimens are found in many fossil localities. Like most localities bearing Hipparion in China, the Hipparion fossils in central Inner Mongolia were collected from the red clay deposits, such as Tuchengzi in Huade County and Wulanhua in Siziwang Banner. From the fluvial and lacustrine deposits of central Inner Mongolia, a great number of micromammalian localities have been discovered, in which sporadic Hipparion fossils were mentioned, without specific reports and detailed descriptions.

Rhegmaspis xiphoidea: New Species of Jawless Fish Unearthed in China

Oct 2, 2015

  • The fish, named Rhegmaspis xiphoidea, belongs to an extinct group of jawless marine and freshwater fish called galeaspids, characterized by their big and bizarre head-shields. The species swam in Devonian period seas about 410 million years ago, long before dinosaurs lived on Earth, according to a study published in the journal Vertebrata PalAsiatica. It had a torpedo-shaped head-shield with a ‘breathing hole’ on top and a sword-like nose.

World’s smallest snail discovered in China

28 September 2015

  • Snails small enough to fit almost 10 times into the eye of a needle have been discovered in Guangxi province, Southern China. With their shells measuring 0.86mm in height, the researchers believe they are the smallest land snails ever found. The Angustopila dominikae snail – named after the wife of one of the authors of the study published in the journal ZooKeys – is just visible to the naked eye but very difficult to spot.

Collection Of Rare Insect Fossils To Be Exhibited In China

September 2015

  • The Insect Museum of West China, Asia’s largest insect museum, has organized an exhibition that will showcase rare insect fossils, which include that of an ant believed to have lived 165 million years ago. The most precious of the specimen in the exhibition is the fossil of an ant believed to be 165 million years old. “The well-preserved fossil was found in volcano limestone in Ningcheng County, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region,” Zhao said.

New jawless fish found from the Lower Devonian of Yunnan, China

September 8, 2015

  • The Galeaspida is a clade of armored jawless vertebrates. Most galeaspids have a strongly flattened head-shield, dorsally set eyes, and a ventral mouth, indicating a benthic lifestyle moving on sandy or muddy substrates in coastal, marine environment. Dr. ZHU Min, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his team described a new galeaspid, Rhegmaspis xiphoidea, from the Lower Devonian Posongchong Formation of Zhaotong, Yunnan Province, China. The new form has a torpedo-shaped head-shield, a long rostral process and ventrolaterally set eyes, which highlight an adaptation to an active suprabenthic lifestyle as reported in the journal of Vertebrata PalAsiatica.

China claims supremacy in dinosaur discoveries

Aug 4, 2015

  • China is now dubbed the world’s “Dinosaur Power” and a destination for international palaeontologists, some of whom have taken to calling it the “Age of the Chinasaurs”. Figures provided by University of Pennsylvania dinosaur palaeontology professor Peter Dodson in 2010 showed China’s rapid ascension in the number of dinosaur types discovered. In 1990, 64 types were found in the United States; 44 in Mongolia; 36 in China. In 2006, China leapt to second spot with 101, trailing behind the US’ 108 and ahead of Mongolia’s 61. By 2010, China was world leader with 132, followed by the US with 108 and Mongolia with 65.

Chinese man finds world’s smallest “jumping mouse”

July 26, 2015

  • A man from northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has found a “jumping mouse” or dwarf three-toed jerboa, which is the smallest rodent in the world. Jiang Wei, researcher with the center for disease control and prevention in Xinjiang, identified that it’s not a mouse but a dwarf three-towed jerboa, a species of rodent which usually appears in the deserts of southern Xinjiang.

Feathered cousin of ‘Jurassic Park’ star unearthed in China

July 16, 2015

  • A newly identified species of feathered dinosaur is the largest ever discovered to have a well-preserved set of bird-like wings, research suggests. Palaeontologists working in China unearthed the fossil remains of the winged dinosaur – a close cousin of Velociraptor, which was made famous by the Jurassic Park films. The newly discovered species – named Zhenyuanlong suni – grew to more than five feet in length. Despite having bird-like wings, it probably could not fly, at least not using the same type of powerful muscle-driven flight as modern birds, researchers say.

Fossils Show That Ancient Jellies Had Beautiful Geometric Skeletons

July 11 2015

  • Unlike their modern counterparts, ancient comb jellies actually had skeletons. Demonstrating this has been difficult because fossilized jellies are hard to come by. Now, researchers have discovered skeletal evidence while examining a batch of new fossils from China. (Photo : Dr. Qiang Ou and his colleagues)
  • The 520-million-year-old fossils reveal that ancient comb jellies had stunning geometric skeletons that have disappeared over the course of evolution, researchers report in a paper published in the journal Science Advances. These strange skeletons contained eight rigid plates that surrounded the jellies’ organs and eight spoke-like structures that radiated outward to surround the soft lobes of their bodies.

Huanansaurus ganzhouensis: New Feathered Dinosaur Discovered in China

Jul 3, 2015

  • A remarkable new genus and species of oviraptorid dinosaur has been unearthed in the Ganzhou area of Jiangxi Province, southern China.
  • The new dinosaur belongs to a group of feathered dinosaurs known as oviraptors. It has been given the official name Huanansaurus ganzhouensis. The genus name refers to Huanan (in Chinese Pinyin), which means southern China, because the dinosaur was discovered in Ganzhou of Jiangxi Province. The species name refers to the locality of Ganzhou.

Collinsium ciliosum: Cambrian Spiky Worm Discovered in China

Jun 29, 2015

  • An international team of paleontologists, co-led by Dr Xi-guang Zhanga and Dr Jie Yang of Yunnan University, has described a new species of super-armored worm with legs that lived in what is now China during the early Cambrian, about 500 million years ago.
  • Reconstruction of Collinsium ciliosum. Image credit: Javier Ortega-Hernandez / / Dimitris Siskopoulos.

Researchers find shrimps from the age of dinosaurs in SW China(1/8)


  • Fairy shrimps swim in a vessel at the Insect Museum of West China in Chengdu city, capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan province. Tadpole shrimps and fairy shrimps, which both have outlived dinosaurs, were found in a field by researchers of the museum. (Photo: China News Service/Zhong Xin)

New Bird Species Discovered In China The Sichuan bush warbler, Locustella chengi, has been named after the late Professor Cheng Tso-hsin.

May 13, 2015

  • AsianScientist (May 13, 2015) – An international team of scientists have discovered a new bird species in central China. The shy brown bird, named the ‘Sichuan bush warbler’, Locustella chengi, breeds in the mountainous region of the Sichuan Basin at an elevation of 1,000-2,300 meters. Their findings have been published in the journal Avian Research. The bird is described as small, round-bodied, chocolate-brown colored, having a dark stubby tail, long pink legs, large dark eyes and a pointy black beak. Its English name refers to Sichuan province where it was first discovered. Its specific name, chengi, honors the late Professor Cheng Tso-hsin (1906-1998), one of China’s greatest ornithologists. “I first heard this species together with my friend [Professor] Urban Olsson when we visited the sacred Emei mountain in Sichuan province, central China in May 1992,” said Professor Per Alström, a professor of systematics and evolution at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and lead author on this paper. Olsson is an associate professor of systematics and biodiversity at the University of Gothenburg and one of the many co-authors on this paper. Alström said that what caught their attention was the unique sound that the bird produced, which was not very typical of a bird: “We heard a song that was unfamiliar to us coming from a dense patch of tall herbs close to the trail. The song didn’t sound very ‘bird-like’ and as we couldn’t see a trace of any bird, we were debating for a little while whether it was a bird or some insect, although we thought it was most likely a bird,” recounted Alström.

The Oldest Ancestor of Modern Birds Has Been Found in China

May 5, 2015

  • Ever since the birdlike dinosaur Archaeopteryx was first discovered in 1861, paleontologists have tried to decipher the evolutionary origins of modern birds—the only surviving descendants of the dinosaurs. Now, paleontologists based out of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have reached a new milestone in this quest. The CAS team has discovered the oldest fossils from the Ornithuromorpha group of dinosaurs, the common ancestor of all modern bird species. The two specimens date back 130 million years to the Early Cretaceous period, when pterosaurs still dominated the skies. They belong to a new species named Archaeornithura meemannae, a feathered wading bird that lived in what is now northeastern China. The CAS team, led by paleontologist Min Wang, published a detailed analysis of the new specimens today in Nature Communications.
  • Concept drawing of Archaeornithura meemannae. Credit: Zongda Zhang.

Tiny Dinosaur with Bat-Like Wings Discovered in China

April 29, 2015

  • Scientists have long known that modern birds are the descendants of dinosaurs. Many small dinosaurs in the late Jurassic period even had feathers. Now, paleontologists in China say that they’ve identified the fossils of one of the earliest flying dinosaurs, but its wings are nothing like those of modern birds. They’re so different, in fact, that paleontologists Xu Xing and Zheng Xiaoting named the little dinosaur Yi qi (pronounced “ee chee”), which means “strange wing” in Mandarin. Despite being a close relative of feathered birds, Yi qi had wings that looked more like those of modern bats or flying squirrels. The discovery raises more questions about the origins of flight.

Builders find dinosaur eggs in paleontologist’s paradise in China

20 Apr 2015

  • Some of the fossilised dinosaur eggs discovered during road works in Heyuan city, in south China’s Guangdong province Photo: © Corbis
  • Dozens of fossilised dinosaur eggs have been discovered by builders carrying out road works in a Chinese city known as “the hometown of the dinosaur”. The 43 eggs were dug up earlier this month by construction workers in the city of Heyuan in Guangdong province. Du Yanli, a local archeologist, told Chinese media that 19 of the eggs had been found intact while the largest had a diameter of 13cm. Heyuan, which has a population of around 3.3 million, is ground zero for dinosaur-related discoveries in China.

Reassessing China’s dinosaur ‘Pompeii’

15 April 2015

  • The study suggests that the Psittacosaurs were buried by sediments that were deposited by water and not by volcaniclastic flows
  • New geological fieldwork in China has changed our understanding of a famous dinosaur fossil site. Up to now, the site at Lujiatun, in Liaoning Province, northeast China, was called the ‘Chinese Pompeii’ because it was assumed the animals had been killed by volcanic gases and buried at the same time under clouds of ash from erupting volcanoes. The story is rather different, however. A new study, led by PhD student Chris Rogers from the University of Bristol, with a team of international collaborators from the UK, Ireland and Beijing, explored the rock outcrops around Lujiatun village as well as spectacular dinosaur skeletons in museums that had come from the site.

‘World’s earliest flower’ found in northeast China

26 March, 2015

  • Researchers working in northeast China have found what could be the world’s earliest flower. According to a paper published in the latest issue of Historical Biology, an international journal of paleobiology based in the UK, the plant is 162 million years old. The discovery provides a “new insight otherwise unavailable for the evolution of flowers”, according to the paper’s two authors, professor Liu Zhongjian of the National Orchid Conservation Centre of China and Professor Wan Xin of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology.
  • Researchers say the Euanthus fossil dates from around 160 million years ago. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Possible ancestor of sponges found

March 9, 2015

  • TINY BUT EXQUISITE A scanning electron micrograph of a fossil just 1.2 millimeters wide, found in southern China, has a shape and some details that look like sponges.
  • A beautifully preserved 600-million-year-old fossil shows actual cells that make it the best candidate yet for an ancestor of sponge animals, researchers propose. The new find, now named Eocyathispongia qiania, is just a single fossil barely as big as a pinhead. Yet its three tubular chambers arising from a base and its visible parts of cells resemble sponges, Zongjun Yin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Nanjing and colleagues report March 9 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dinosaurs DIDN’T have it all their own way: Earliest tree and underground dwelling mammals discovered – and are far more advanced than previously thought

12 February 2015

  • Two 160 million year old fossils found in China are from the earliest known tree-dwelling and subterranean mammals ever discovered. With claws for climbing and teeth adapted for a tree sap diet, Agilodocodon scansorius is the earliest-known tree-dwelling mammaliaform (long-extinct relatives of modern mammals). The other fossil, Docofossor brachydactylus, is the earliest-known subterranean mammaliaform, possessing multiple adaptations similar to African golden moles such as shovel-like paws.
  • With claws for climbing and teeth adapted for a tree sap diet, Agilodocodon scansorius is the earliest-known tree-dwelling mammaliaform (long-extinct relatives of modern mammals). The other fossil, Docofossor brachydactylus, is the earliest-known subterranean mammaliaform, possessing multiple adaptations similar to African golden moles such as shovel-like paws.

A history of paleontology in China

February 8th 2015

  • Paleontology in China has blossomed into a strong research enterprise during the last two decades, thanks to an enriched intellectual atmosphere, the energy of a promising economy, and the groundwork laid by generations of scientists.
  • China contains rich and unique fossil resources, such as the Precambrian Weng’an Biota, the early Cambrian Chengjiang Biota, and the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota, to name but a few. Numerous important fossils, some of which are considered to be ‘missing links’ in the chain of organismal evolution, have been discovered in the strata of various geologic time intervals.

New ionoscopiform fish found from the Middle Triassic of Guizhou, China

Feb 05, 2015

  • Fig.1 Holotype of Panxianichthys imparilis (IVPP V 19971) Credit: XU Guanghui
  • The Ionoscopiformes are a fossil fish lineage of halecomorphs known only from the Mesozoic marine deposits. Because of their close relationships with the Amiiformes, the Ionoscopiformes are phylogenetically important in investigating the early evolution and biogeography of the Halecomorphi, but fossil evidence of early ionoscopiforms was scarce. Robustichthys recently reported from the Middle Triassic Luoping Biota, eastern Yunnan, China, represents the oldest and only known ionoscopiform in the Triassic.

Mesozoic mammals—what do we know from China?

Feb 03, 2015

  • This image represents phylogenetic hypotheses of mammals. a-d, Four simplified phylogenetic hypotheses of mammals. The red dot indicates the node of Mammalia in each hypothesis. The dashed line and question mark between stem eutherians and placentals indicate the uncertainty about the divergence time of placental mammals. 1, Non-mammaliaform cynodonts (here primarily referred to tritylodonts). 2, Sinoconodon and/or morganucodontids (these two taxa are not a natural group; for simplicity of the figure they are merged). 3, Docodonta. 4, Australosphenidans. 5, Eutriconodontans. 6, ‘Haramiyidans’. 7, Multituberculates. 8, ‘Symmetrodontans’. 9, Metatherians (Marsupials). 10, Stem eutherians. 11, Placentals. 12, Gondwanatheria. Credit: Science China Press
  • It is generally accepted that the tree of life for mammals was rooted in the Mesozoic, but the specific time for the origin of mammals remains an issue of debate. This is partly because Mesozoic mammals are commonly known by fragmentary material, mostly dentitions, that restrained the search for the biology and evolution of our earliest ancestors. During the last two decades, many Mesozoic mammals have been reported from all over the world. Notable among them are those from the southern continents, which have significantly enriched understanding of the morphology, diversity, geographic distribution and evolution of Mesozoic mammals. The most remarkable discoveries, however, have come from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods of China; approximately 50 species, with most represented by superbly preserved skeletal specimens, have been reported. These discoveries have cast new light on some important issues in the study of Mesozoic mammals, such as the diversity and disparity, the mammalian affinity of “haramiyidans”, the divergence time of mammals and evolution of the mammalian middle ear.

Long-necked ‘dragon’ discovered in China

Jan 28, 2015

  • University of Alberta paleontologists including PhD student Tetsuto Miyashita, former MSc student Lida Xing and professor Philip Currie have discovered a new species of a long-necked dinosaur from a skeleton found in China. The findings have been published in a new paper in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Qijianglong (pronounced “CHI-jyang-lon”) is about 15 metres in length and lived about 160 million years ago in the Late Jurassic. The name means “dragon of Qijiang,” for its discovery near Qijiang City, close to Chongqing. The fossil site was found by construction workers in 2006, and the digging eventually hit a series of large neck vertebrae stretched out in the ground. Incredibly, the head of the dinosaur was still attached. “It is rare to find a head and neck of a long-necked dinosaur together because the head is so small and easily detached after the animal dies,” explains Miyashita.

Eohupehsuchus brevicollis: Paleontologists Discover Short-Necked Triassic Marine Reptile

Dec 18, 2014

  • Paleontologists led by Dr Xiao-hong Chen of the China Geological Survey’s Wuhan Center have discovered a new species of marine reptile that lived in what is now China during the Lower Triassic, about 245 million years ago.
  • The new fossil, named Eohupehsuchus brevicollis, for the first time shows a short neck in this group, with six cervicals. It was collected during field excavation in 2011 from Jialingjiang Formation in Yangping, Yuan’an County, Hubei Province, China.

Fossil of Ancient Balloon-Shaped Animal Found

Dec 09, 2014

  • Scientists have found the fossil of an ancient balloon-shaped animal in China, which they hope can shed some light on Earth’s early sea life, according to new research. (Photo : Prof Derek J Siveter of Oxford University)
  • Dating back 520 million years ago, Nidelric pugio – named for the late University of Leicester scientist Richard Aldridge – most likely belongs to the unique group called “chancelloriid.” These bizarre creatures look like inflated balloons, with an outer skeleton made of pointy spines to defend themselves against predators. Though the animal may have been covered in spines while it was living, they have since lost their sharpness given the fact that the animal was flattened during the fossilization process, making it look like a squashed birds nest.

Thirty new spider species found in one of China’s richest biodiversity hotspots


  • Scientists from the Institute of Zoology with the Chinese Academy of Sciences have devoted years of their careers to study the astounding diversity hidden in the depths of the Xishuangbanna tropical rain forests. In a recent paper published in the open access journal ZooKeys Prof. Shuqiang Li and his team reveal 30 new spider species, which constitutes a minor share of what is yet to be found in this biodiversity hotspot. Xishuangbanna is situated in the southern part of Yunnan with the Lancang (Mekong) River flowing through it. The region is well-known for its rich biodiversity and is one of the few places in China that still maintains large tracts of tropical rain forest, which won its reputation as the “Kingdom of Tropical Fauna and Flora”.

Does this 247-million-year-old giant sea dragon fossil prove more species survived the cataclysmic ‘Great Dying’ extinction?

28 November 2014

  • The fossil of a 247-million-year-old giant sea dragon discovered in China could be evidence that more species survived during the world’s greatest mass extinction. The Nothosaurus zhangi, named after the researcher who discovered the fossil 2008, is described in Nature Scientific Reports as being 22-feet-long. Its unearthing suggests that other marine creatures recovered more broadly following the event known as the Permian–Triassic – or ‘The Great Dying’.
  • The fang-teethed creature would look similar to this and would have roamed the seas around China as many as 250million years ago

Fossil-hunting Bone China

Nov 15th 2014

  • A GIANT, pinkish femur juts out of the ground, longer than a person is tall. The area is littered with the fossilised vertebrae, leg and arm bones and skull of this Hadrosaurus. For 70m years it and other dinosaurs have lain buried here. Now the site in Zhucheng, in Shandong province in eastern China, is known as “dinosaur valley” for its more than 10,000 fossils found to date. The hunt for dinosaurs only properly began in China in recent decades. Already more species have been identified there than in any other country.
  • The bonanza is explained by China’s great expanses of rock from the Mesozoic era, when “fearful dragons”, as they are called in Chinese, roamed. In many areas rivers, floods, sandstorms and earthquakes buried the animals soon after they died, so preserving them. An unusually large amount of the rock from this era is now close to the surface, so the troves of bones, eggs and footprints have been uncovered comparatively easily. A recent discovery in Liaoning province, the Changyuraptor yangi, is the largest known four-winged flying reptile and marks another vital step on the evolutionary path from dinosaurs to birds.

First Amphibious “Sea Monster” Found; Fills Evolutionary Gap

November 5, 2014

  • (Photo : John Sibbick ) Researchers have found the missing link between the ancient marine predator, Ichthyosaurs and its ancestors on land. The reptile, which also looked like a dolphin, lived in the sea during the time of the dinosaurs, evolved as terrestrial creatures returned to the sea.
  • A fossil of the newfound ichthyosaur, Cartorhynchus lenticarpus, shows the creature was built for land and sea.
  • A new species of dinosaur-era sea reptile that could live on both land and in water has been unearthed in China—the first amphibious “sea monster” ever found. The ichthyosaur, whose discovery was announced Wednesday, fills a crucial gap in the evolution of these dolphin-like predators, which thrived in Jurassic seas about 200 million to 145 million years ago. The reptiles could grow to 65 feet (20 meters) in length, about as long as a tractor-trailer.

Four new dragon millipedes found in China

Oct 30, 2014

  • A team of speleobiologists from the South China Agriculture University and the Russian Academy of Sciences have described four new species of the dragon millipedes from southern China, two of which seem to be cave dwellers. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys. The millipede genus Desmoxytes is well-known because the dragon-like appearance of the species in it. The four new species all can be recognized by their spiky body, the distinctive characteristic which gave the representatives of the genus their unique common name.

Bizarre sphere fossils could be among world’s earliest animals

September 25, 2014

  • A series of mysterious spherical fossils found in southern China may be remnants of some of the world’s earliest animals. A new study finds that these controversial fossils are not likely to be bacteria or single-celled protists; their cells, preserved for more than 600 million years in rock, are too complex and differentiated. Instead, the fossils may be multicellular algae, or even the embryos of ancient animals.

Ancient ‘Dragon’ Beast Flew Right Out of ‘Avatar’

September 11, 2014

  • The remains of an extinct flying reptile (shown here in a reconstruction) that lived some 120 million years ago reveal the creature had a wingspan of 4.9 feet (1.5 meters).
  • Scientists investigated two partial skeletons of Ikrandraco dating back about 120 million years ago to the Early Cretaceous Period. They unearthed these fossils in arid hills in northeastern China’s Liaoning province, which has become famous for the trove of feathered dinosaurs unearthed there over the last decade. Back when this reptile was alive, the area where it was found was a large freshwater lake with a warm climate that was home to many kinds of animals, such as fish, frogs, turtles, other pterosaurs, feathered dinosaurs, birds and mammals, as well as many plants, such as ferns, conifers, gingkos, cycads and some flowering plants. [Images of Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs]

Jurassic squirrels: Fossils shed light on early mammal evolution

September 10, 2014

  • Researchers have discovered fossils of three previously unknown species of squirrel-like animals that lived in China millions of years ago. The new study outlining the discovery supports the idea that the earliest mammals may have originated about 200 million years ago. That’s millions of years earlier than previous research suggested. The findings may help scientists better understand how and when those first mammals diversified. The three new species — named Shenshou lui, Xianshou linglong, and Xianshou songae — have been identified and described from six nearly complete 160-million-year-old fossils found in China.

Nest of Young Dinosaurs with ‘Babysitter’ Discovered

September 03, 2014

  • In a rock slab dating back some 120 million years, scientists have discovered the skeletons of 24 “baby dinosaurs” called psittacosaurs and that of an older individual, suggesting a caretaker was “babysitting” the nestlings.
  • These findings help shed light on how sociable these ancient reptiles might have been, scientists added. The oldest known dino nesting sites are 190 million years old, and their existence suggests that even the earliest dinosaurs may have exhibited complex family behaviors.

Giant Armored Dinosaur Unearthed in China

August 13, 2014

  • The new ankylosaur is named Chuanqilong chaoyangensis. Chuanqilong is derived from Chinese words meaning “legendary dragon,” and chaoyangensis refers to the area in which it was found. The nearly complete skeleton of the ancient reptile was unearthed by local farmers from a quarry in Liaoning province in northeastern China, which has yielded a trove of discoveries of feathered dinosaurs over the last decade. [Images: A Trove of Feathered Dinosaurs]

New Parasitoid Wasp Species Found in China

September 5, 2014

  • For the first time, wasps in the genus Spasskia (family: Braconidae) have been found in China, according to an article in the open-access Journal of Insect Science. In addition, a species in that genus which is totally new to science was also discovered. The new species, Spasskia brevicarinata, is very small — male and female adults are less than one centimeter long. It is similar to a previously described species called Spasskia indica, but the ridges on some of its body segments are different. In fact, the species epithet brevicarinata reflects a short ridge on its first tergite, as “brevi” is Latin for short and “carinata” is Latin for ridge.

Nearest ancestor of living bears discovered from Gansu, China

Aug 05, 2014

  • Fig. 1 Skull and head reconstruction of Ursavus tedfordi (illustrated by Shi Qinqin), and the background is the Late Miocene Hipparion red clay of the Linxia Basin in Gansu, China. Credit: Deng Tao
  • In the last ten years or so, a number of skulls of Indarctos, Agriotherium and Ursavus have been collected from the Late Miocene deposits in the Linxia Basin. Since so far no complete Ursavus skull has ever been found and reported, and a number of questions pertaining to the origin, phylogeny and classification of the Ursinae are quite dependent on a better understanding of ancestral ursid members, especially the genus Ursavus, a well preserved skull of Ursavus was chosen as the subject of the first of a series of papers dealing with these ursid skulls by Professor Qiu Zhanxiang and his colleagues from Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences. The latest issue of Vertebrata PalAsiatica (Volume 52, Issue 3) published their research in the cover article.

Terrifyingly Large Insect Found in China


  • Earlier this month in Sichuan, China, the Insect Museum of West China went on an expedition and found the largest dobsonfly of its kind, Xinhua reports. If you are wondering how big this particular insect is, its wingspan measures 21 centimeters (over 8 inches). Previously, the largest specimen was found in Brazil and had a wingspan of 19.1 centimeters or 7.48 inches. This bug, it seems, can be found in many different countries. That’s comforting.

Scientists Unearth 520-Million-Year-Old Sea Creature With Well-Preserved Brain


  • A spectacularly preserved creature, dubbed Lyrarapax unguispinus, was unearthed in China. The 520-million-year-old sea creature was so well-preserved that parts of its brain and nervous system were clearly defined.
  • A spectacularly well-preserved sea monster that once prowled the oceans during the Cambrian Period has been unearthed in China. The 520-million-year-old creature, one of the first predators of its day, sported compound eyes, body armor and two spiky claws for grabbing prey. The fossils of the new species were so well preserved that the nervous system and parts of the brain were still clearly defined. [Cambrian Creatures: Photos of Primitive Sea Life]

Four-winged dinosaur is ‘biggest ever’

16 July 2014

  • Changyuraptor used its remarkably long tail feathers to smooth its landing
  • A new four-winged dinosaur has been discovered, with exceptionally long feathers on its tail and “hindwings”. Changyuraptor yangi was a gliding predator which lived in the Cretaceous period in what is now Liaoning, China. Its remarkable tail feathers – measuring up to 30cm – are the longest in any non-avian dinosaur.
  • Microraptor gui – another ancient four-winged species

Qiyia jurassica: Bizarre Bloodsucking Parasite from Jurassic of China

Jun 25, 2014

  • An international group of paleontologists has described an aquatic larva of a prehistoric fly that lived in what is now Inner Mongolia, China, about 165 million years ago, and was a bloodsucking parasite of salamanders.
  • Life reconstruction of Qiyia jurassica attached to a salamander. Image credit: Jun Chen et al.

Megamastax amblyodus: Largest Silurian Vertebrate Discovered in China

Jun 13, 2014

  • A newly discovered fossil fish named Megamastax amblyodus is the largest vertebrate known in the Silurian fossil record, says a group of paleontologists led by Dr Brian Choo of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and the Beijing Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.
  • Megamastax amblyodus consuming the galeaspid Dunyu longiforus. Image credit: Brian Choo.

Dinosaurs With Chinese Characteristics: Meet the Zizhongosaurus

May 12, 2014

  • A reconstruction of what northeastern China might have looked like during the Jurassic Period, featuring feathered dinosaurs, pterosaurs and more.
  • Researchers recently said that the remains of a long-nose tyrannosaurid species, the Qianzhousaurus sinensis, were found in southern China near the city of Ganzhou in Jiangxi province. The carnivore was probably alive during the late Cretaceous period, scientists say, some 66 million years ago. According to University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno, the world is in the middle of a “renaissance” in dinosaur discovery, with China helping lead that charge. By some estimates in recent years, a new dinosaur is named on average every two weeks.
  • A model Daxiatitan binglingi is displayed outside the Hong Kong Science Museum in Hong Kong, China in October 2013.

3-D Reptile Eggs Found in China Shed Light on Pterosaur Social Patterns

Jun 05, 2014

  • The first 3-D preserved eggs of an ancient reptile unearthed in China shed light on the lifestyle and social patterns of pterosaurs, flying reptiles that lived over 100 million years ago during the time of the dinosaurs. In China’s Xinjiang Province, paleontologists discovered five intact fossil eggs – alongside the bones of 40 adults – all belonging to a previously unknown pterosaur species named Hamipterus tianshanensis, with a wingspan between 5 feet (1.5 meters) and 11 feet (3.4 meters). “This is definitely the most important pterosaur site ever found,” paleontologist Zhonghe Zhou told Reuters.

New Stick Insect Species Discovered in China

June 03, 2014

  • A stick insect camouflaged in the forests of southern China got its cover blown last month by a flashlight-toting scientist who identified the critter as a new species. Like most stick insects, the new species Sinophasma damingshanensis has a long, narrow body and a green-brown coloration that allows it to blend in perfectly among plant stems. But insect hunters have a trick for spotting the disguised creatures. “If you know the insects’ food plant, you can find the corresponding species,” George Ho Wai-Chun, a researcher from the Hong Kong Entomological Society, said in a statement. In this case, the insects were feeding on trees and shrubs in the Fagaceae or beech family.

‘Pinocchio Rex,’ a new long-snouted tyrannosaur, discovered in southern China

May 7, 2014

  • A new cousin to the Tyrannosaurus rex has been discovered in southern China, and the animal’s long snout has led scientists to dub it the “Pinocchio Rex.” Its official name is Qianzhousaurus sinensis and it looks quite different from other Tyrannosaurs. “It had the familiar toothy grin of T. rex, but its snout was long and slender, with a row of horns on top,” Edinburgh University’s Dr. Steve Brusatte told the BBC. “It might have looked a little comical, but it would have been as deadly as any other tyrannosaur, and maybe even a little faster and stealthier. We thought it needed a nickname, and the long snout made us think of Pinocchio’s long nose.”

Ancient flying reptile from China fills evolutionary gap

April 24, 2014

  • WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It was the start of something big – really big. Scientists on Thursday said they have found a fossil from 163 million years ago that represents the oldest known example of a lineage of advanced flying reptiles that later would culminate in the largest flying creatures in Earth’s history. The newly identified Jurassic period creature, a species named Kryptodrakon progenitor that was unearthed in the Gobi desert in northwestern China, was modest in size, with a wingspan of perhaps 4-1/2 feet. But later members of its branch of the flying reptiles known as pterosaurs were truly colossal, including Quetzalcoatlus, whose wingspan of about 35 feet was roughly the same as that of an F-16 fighter.

New snake species found in China


  • Chinese scientists have discovered a new species of brownish pit viper in the largest scientific study since the 1970s on wildlife at Mount Everest, known in China as Mount Qomolangma. A genetic analysis revealed Protobothrops Himalayanus, which was first spotted at Jilong Valley in southern Tibet in 2012, to be a new snake species, Hu Huijian, co-chief of the research team, told Xinhua. The new species was named in honour of its home, the Himalayas, said Hu.

500-Million-Year-Old Embryos Fossilized in Rare Find

April 14, 2014

  • Tiny, spherical fossils found in southern China appear to be the embryos of a previously unknown animal. The fossils come from the Cambrian, a period dating from 540 million to 485 million years ago and known for an explosion of diversity. Some of the organisms that appeared during the Cambrian, such as the bug-like trilobite, had exoskeletons and other hard parts that fossilized nicely. Others, including sponges and worms, were made of soft tissue that rarely preserves. Researchers Jesse Broce of Virginia Tech, James Schiffbauer of the University of Missouri and their colleagues were searching for these rare soft-tissue fossils in limestone from the Hubei province of southern China when they found something even more rare: tiny spheres, including some with polygonal patterns on their surfaces. These itsy-bitsy fossils are most likely fossilized embryos, the researchers report in the March issue of the Journal of Paleontology. The fossils come from the third stage of the Cambrian, dating back to around 521 million to 541 million years ago.

In hiding for 126 million years: Oldest known stick insect fossil that blends in perfectly with a leaf discovered in China

19 March 2014

  • It is one of the earliest examples of natural camouflage ever found – and an ancient relative of the stick insect. An international team of scientists said on Wednesday they have discovered the fossil of an insect in China that lived about 126 million years ago whose appearance mimicked that of a nearby plant. It is the oldest-known stick or leaf insect that used such natural trickery, they said. The insect, named Cretophasmomima melanogramma, was found in Liaoning province in northeastern China, part of the Jehol rock formation that has yielded many stunningly detailed fossils of creatures like early birds and feathered dinosaurs.

Five New Armored Spider Species Discovered In South China Karst Caves [PHOTO]

March 17 2014

  • Five new species of armored spiders have been discovered in China. The species, which have complex plate patterns blanketing their abdomens, were found in caves in the South China Karst (a UNESCO World Heritage site), which spans the provinces of Guangxi, Guizhou and Yunnan.

160-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Fauna Identified, ‘Daohugou Biota’ Fossils Are ‘Stunning’ Finds [PHOTO]

March 04 2014

  • A collection of fossils that are approximately 160 million years old have painted an new picture of the Jurassic period. The assemblage, named the Daohugou Biota after a Chinese village near one of the major fossil sites, includes fossils belonging to rare creatures that walked on Earth millions of years ago including the oldest known gliding mammal, the oldest dinosaurs preserved with feathers, and a pterosaur that represents an important transitional form between two major groups. “The Daohugou Biota gives us a look at a rarely glimpsed side of the Middle to Late Jurassic – not a parade of galumphing giants, but an assemblage of quirky little creatures like feathered dinosaurs, pterosaurs with ‘advanced’ heads on ‘primitive’ bodies, and the Mesozoic equivalent of a flying squirrel,” Dr. Corwin Sullivan, lead author of the study, said in a statement.

Atopodentatus unicus: Bizarre New Fossil Reptile Discovered in China

Feb 17, 2014

  • Paleontologists led by Dr Xiao-Chun Wu from Canadian Museum of Nature say they have discovered a new genus and species of reptile that lived in what is now China during the middle Triassic, between 247 and 242 million years ago. Dr Xiao-Chun Wu and his colleagues named the new prehistoric creature Atopodentatus unicus and suggest it belonged to a group of reptiles called the sauropterygians. Atopodentatus unicus measured about 3 m long and had a long body, short neck and special adaptations for a fully aquatic or semi-aquatic lifestyle. Its nearly complete skeleton and a left lateral side of the skull were collected from the middle Triassic of Guanling Formation near Daaozi village, Yunnan, China.

Fossil captures ancient baby reptile’s birth

Feb 13, 2014

  • A fossilized baby reptile emerging from its mother’s body during a live birth has been discovered in China. The fossils, belonging to dolphin-like marine reptiles with huge eyes called Chaohusaurus, date back to 248 million years ago, during the Mesozoic era, before the rise of the dinosaurs. That makes this the oldest live birth of a vertebrate — an animal with a backbone — known in the fossil record. The mother appears to have been in the process of giving birth to triplets. The one that died while being born had two siblings nearby — one still inside the mother, and one that had already been born, lying near the mother.

‘Animal Pompeii’ wiped out China’s ancient creatures

4 February 2014

  • The puzzle of how a 120-million-year-old animal graveyard in China formed may have been solved. Lead researcher Baoyu Jiang, from Nanjing University in China, said: “Scientists have been curious for a long time in how these animals were killed and became exceptionally preserved.” The fossil beds of Liaoning province in north-east China, which date to 120-130 million years ago, have long baffled scientists.

Scientists Identify Largest Species of Dinosaurs in China

February 3, 2014

  • Scientists in China have identified the largest species of dinosaurs that possibly ever walked on earth. The giant plant-eating dinosaur, Yongjinglong datangi, was discovered in China’s Gansu Province in 2008, but has now been defined as a separate species living in the early Cretaceous period, about 100 million years ago. The dinosaur was a juvenile and about 60 feet in length, suggesting that adults were even more massive, making them the largest species ever to inhabit earth.

Dinosaur fossils from China help Penn researchers describe new ‘Titan’

February 1, 2014

  • Until very recently, the United States was the epicenter for dinosaur diversity, but China surpassed the U.S. in 2007 in terms of species found. This latest discovery was made in the southeastern Lanzhou-Minhe Basin of China’s Gansu Province, about an hour’s drive from the province’s capital, Lanzhou. Two other Titanosaurs from the same period, Huanghetitan liujiaxiaensis and Daxiatitan binglingi, were discovered within the last decade in a valley one kilometer from the Yongjinglong fossils. “As recently as 1997 only a handful of dinosaurs were known from Gansu,” Dodson said. “Now it’s one of the leading areas of China. This dinosaur is one more of the treasures of Gansu.”

Rare Skull Fossil of Miocene Ape Lufengpithecus Found

Sep 9, 2013

  • An international team of scientists has announced the discovery of a 6.1-million-year-old relatively complete and largely undistorted juvenile cranium of the fossil ape Lufengpithecus lufengensis at the Miocene site Shuitangba in Yunnan Province, China. The cranium is also noteworthy for its age. It dates to near the end of the Miocene, a time when apes had become extinct in most of Eurasia.

Alalcomenaeus: Unusual Cambrian Animal with Spider-Like Brain

Oct 17, 2013

  • Paleontologists have found a well-preserved fossil of a megacheiran – distant relative of scorpions and spiders – that lived in Cambrian seas about 520 million years ago. The fossil creature, named Alalcomenaeus, is the earliest known to show complete nervous system. Collected from the famous Chengjiang formation near Kunming in southwest China, the four-eyed, 3-cm-long Alalcomenaeus belongs to an extinct group of marine arthropods known as megacheirans (large claws in Greek).

419-million-year-old armoured fish fossil resolves ‘missing link’ in evolution, scientists say

26 Sep 2013

  • Palaeontologists say the fossilised fish, which was found in the suburbs of a city in south-west China, is probably the earliest creature with a recognisable jaw. For years, the world’s top evolutionary scientists thought Placoderms died out and then somehow modern fish evolved. “This ancient fish called Entelognathus is the missing link because it shows that the extinct armoured Placoderms fishes, which dominated the seas, rivers and lakes of the world for 70 million years, actually were the ancestors to all the living fish on the planet today.”

Oldest dinosaur embryo fossils discovered in China

10 April 2013

  • Palaeontologists working in China have unearthed the earliest collection of fossilized dinosaur embryos to date. The trove includes remains from many individuals at different developmental stages, providing a unique opportunity to investigate the embryonic development of a prehistoric species.

Pterosaur fossil unearthed in China


  • A rare pterosaur skull fossil has been discovered in Northeast China, according to a Friday press release from the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS). A photo of the fossil specimen attached to the release shows that the creature had an upward-pointing frontal crest and large rostral teeth, indicating that it is closely related to Ludodactylus, another rare lizard hailing from the Araripe Basin in northeast Brazil, according to Dr Wang Xiaolin, a scientist leading a joint Chinese-Brazilian research team that discovered the fossil.

Adorably Chubby Mini-Spider Species Discovered in China


  • Mysmenia wawuensis, a new type of spider that lives in China, is only 0.75 mm long. (Lin & Li, ZooKeys) Tiny spiders with oversized rumps have been discovered in China. The little arachnids, each about a mm long, represent two new species of orb-weaving spiders. They belong to the Mysmenidae family of orb-weavers, and were described on May 21 in the journal ZooKeys.

Early humans lived in North China 1.6 million years ago, say scientists

August 19, 2013

  • A team of scientists say they have uncovered evidence of early humans in China dating back at least 1.6 million years, the oldest signs of early humans in North China. In a paper published in the scholarly journal Scientific Reports, Chinese Academy of Sciences geologist Hong Ao and his team determined that tools and other artifacts found at the Shangshazui Paleolithic site in China’s Nihewan Basin were deposited there between 1.6 and million 1.7 million years ago. Previously, the artifacts were thought to be 1 million years old. “[The site] represents the oldest evidence of early human occupation in North China,” writes Dr. Ao, in an email interview.

Two new species of moths found in China

June 4, 2013

  • The moth genus Monema is represented by medium-sized yellowish species. The genus belongs to the Limacodidae family also known as the slug moths due to the distinct resemblance of their caterpillars to some slug species. Some people know this family as the cup moths, the name derived from the peculiar looking, hard shell cocoon they form.

40kya ancestor of Native Americans and East Asians found in Beijing!

  • An international team of researchers including Svante Pääbo and Qiaomei Fu of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, sequenced nuclear and mitochondrial DNA that had been extracted from the leg of an early modern human from Tianyuan Cave near Beijing, China. Analyses of this individual’s DNA showed that the Tianyuan human shared a common origin with the ancestors of many present-day Asians and Native Americans. In addition, the researchers found that the proportion of Neanderthal and Denisovan-DNA in this early modern human is not higher than in people living in this region nowadays.

Snapshots of China’s dinosaur hometown


  • The picture shows the monument of the Dinosaur National Geology Park in Jiayin county, Northeast of China’s Heilongjiang province, on July 27. This is the first place where dinosaur fossils were found in China. Jiayin county is called China’s dinosaur hometown. [Photo by Wang Hui/]

Dragon King dinosaur fossils found in northwest China declared a new species

May 4, 2013

  • A dinosaur fossil uncovered in China in 2006 has been declared a new meat-eating species not previously discovered. The theropod called “Aurun zhaio” or “Dragon King” was discovered by George Washington University biologist James Clark and his team in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China.

Flying dinosaur which had triangular teeth and resembled a CHICKEN discovered in Chinese quarry

29 May 2013

  • A flying dinosaur that lived about 150 million years ago has been dug up in China. The Aurornis xui was roughly the same size as a chicken, was 20 inches in length and had tiny, triangular teeth. It was also covered almost head-to-toe in primitive feathers. Scientists from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels say the complete fossilised skeleton throws new light on the evolution of birds.

Tiny Chinese Archicebus fossil is oldest primate yet found

5 June 2013

  • A mouse-sized fossil from China has provided remarkable new insights into the origin of primates. At 55 million years old, it represents the earliest known member of this broad group of animals that includes humans. Many people may be taken aback by the animal’s small size – a body just 71mm in length and an estimated weight of about 20-30g. But Archicebus gives us a good idea of what the very first primates on Earth would have looked like. And they would have emerged in a pivotal period, said senior Nature editor Dr Henry Gee, when the planet was gripped in a period of outstanding global warming.

Giant feathered dinosaur Yutyrannus discovered in China

04 Apr 2012

  • A species of giant feathered dinosaur, named Yutyrannus, that weighed as much as a car and was related to the Tyrannosaurus rex has been discovered in China. It is by far the biggest feathered dinosaur ever to have been unearthed and raises intriguing questions as to why some of these scaly reptiles developed plumage. At adult size, a Yutyrannus would have been about 30 feet long and weighed around 1.4 tons, with feathers at least six inches long.