creatures discovered in China Part 2

Triassic Fossil Reveals First Evidence of Live Birth in Archosauromorphs

Feb 15, 2017

  • The first ever evidence of live birth in a group of animals previously thought only to lay eggs has been discovered by an international team of paleontologists from China, the United States, Australia and UK. “Live birth (viviparity) is well known in mammals, where the mother has a placenta to nourish the developing embryo,” said University of Queensland Professor Jonathan Aitchison, senior author of a paper on the discovery published Feb. 14 in the journal Nature Communications. The specimen belongs to the recently discovered Luoping biota and shows an embryo inside the mother — clear evidence for live birth.

‘Jurassic Park’ in China Leads to Discovery of New Species in 82 Dinosaur Fossil Sites

Feb 13, 2017

  • Researchers have found various fossils of dinosaurs in East China. The sites total to 82, with 25 types of fossil eggs and six dinosaur species. The data was gathered by researchers from the Zhejiang Institute of Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology and Zhejiang Museum of Natural History. They conducted the study between 2006 and 2013. The scientists had to survey about 11,000 kilometers of land to collect the various remains of the dinosaurs. “This new specimen from China rewrites our understanding of the evolution of reproductive systems,” Prof. Organ added.

Ancient crocodile bones discovered in Xi’an

February 6, 2017

  • Ancient bones unearthed in Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province, have led archaeologists to suggest that the area may have been home to wild crocodiles thousands of years ago. The site was once the capital of the Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-771 BC), with countless relics having been discovered there over the years. However, the ancient crocodile bones took archaeologists by surprise.

Meet Saccorhytus coronarius, Humans’ Earliest-Known Ancestor

Jan 31, 2017

  • A microscopic, bag-like marine creature that lived approximately 540 million years ago (Fortunian stage of the Cambrian period) has been identified from microfossils found in Shaanxi Province, China. The ancient animal, named Saccorhytus coronarius, is the most primitive example of a so-called deuterostome.

Scientists Discover Prehistoric Giant Otter Species In China

January 23, 2017

  • Six million years ago, giant otters weighing more than 100 pounds lived among birds and water lilies in the wooded wetlands of China’s Yunnan province. That’s according to new research from a team of scientists who discovered a well-preserved cranium of the newly-discovered species in an open lignite mine in 2010. They recently published their findings in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.

Scientists claim new gibbon species—name it Skywalker

January 11, 2017

  • Researchers in China claim they have identified a new species of gibbon in the remote forests along its border with Burma—and have named it after Star Wars character Luke Skywalker. Scientists studying hoolock gibbons on China’s Mount Gaoligong concluded there were two, not one, species based on both the primate’s distinctive brow and a genetic analysis. The study was published in the American Journal of Primatology.

A colorful yet little known snout moth genus from China with five new species

January 5, 2017

  • A group of beautiful snout moths from China was revised by three scientists from the Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In their study, recently published in the open access journal Zookeys, entomologists Dr. Mingqiang Wang, Dr. Fuqiang Chen and Prof. Chunsheng Wu describe five new species and two newly recorded for the country.

‘Weird’ dinosaur underwent radical transformation as it aged

Dec. 22, 2016

  • Imagine how odd it would be if humans were born with a full set of teeth and gradually went toothless from age 12 onward. A slim, little bipedal dinosaur that lived 160 million years ago, appears to have done something much like that. Limusaurus lost all of its teeth as it aged and swapped them for a smooth beak, a team of paleontologists reports. That never-before-seen transformation in dinosaurs—or indeed in any reptile living or extinct—may have allowed Limusaurus to become increasingly herbivorous as it matured into adulthood, and thus avoid competing with its more omnivorous offspring.

First Dinosaur Tail Found Preserved in Amber

December 8, 2016

  • The tail of a 99-million-year-old dinosaur, including bones, soft tissue, and even feathers, has been found preserved in amber, according to a report published today in the journal Current Biology. While individual dinosaur-era feathers have been found in amber, and evidence for feathered dinosaurs is captured in fossil impressions, this is the first time that scientists are able to clearly associate well-preserved feathers with a dinosaur, and in turn gain a better understanding of the evolution and structure of dinosaur feathers.

World’s Largest Cluster of Sinkholes Discovered

November 30, 2016

  • Scientists in China announced a major new discovery this week: 49 massive sinkholes that were previously unknown, representing the highest natural density of the phenomenon in the world. Government researchers discovered the sinkholes during the course of a four-month survey in the Qinling-Bashan Mountains, which are located in the Hanzhong area of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.

Ancient Melanosomes, Beta-Keratin Found in Fossilized Feathers of Early Cretaceous Bird

Nov 25, 2016

  • An international team of paleontologists has found evidence of beta-keratin and melanosome preservation in a 130-million-year-old specimen of the Early Cretaceous bird Eoconfuciusornis. Eoconfuciusornis, a genus of crow-sized primitive birds from the Early Cretaceous Dabeigou and Huajiying Formations of China, dating from 135 to 125 million years ago, are the earliest birds to have a keratinous beak and no teeth, like modern birds.

Tongtianlong limosus: New Species of Feathered Dinosaur Discovered in China

Nov 10, 2016

  • A new species of oviraptorid dinosaur has been discovered in southern China dating back approximately 69 million years to the latest Cretaceous period, says an international team of paleontologists. The team, led by Dr. Junchang Lü, a paleontologist with the Institute of Geology in Beijing, China, has named the new dinosaur species Tongtianlong limosus, meaning ‘muddy dragon on the road to heaven.’

Ancient toothed turtles survived until 160m years ago

November 8, 2016

  • Today’s turtles don’t have teeth; they cut off their food using hard ridges on their jaws. But their ancestors were not so dentally challenged. A team of international researchers including Dr. Márton Rabi from the Biogeology Lab of the University of Tübingen has now discovered that turtles with remnants of teeth survived 30 million years later than previously thought. The researchers found evidence of this at a major excavation site in China’s western Autonomous Region of Xinjiang. Up to now, the most recent finds of toothed turtles were 190 million years old. The new discovery also helps to fill in some of the puzzle pieces in the chelonian family tree and in the distribution of the family over many millions of years. The researchers have published their findings in the latest edition of BMC Evolutionary Biology.

World’s biggest known saber-toothed cat roamed the Earth 8 million years ago and was the size of a POLAR BEAR

7 November 2016

Smart mouth: Chinese fish fossil sheds light on jaw evolution

Oct 20, 2016

  • A bottom-dwelling, mud-grubbing, armored fish that swam in tropical seas 423 million years ago is fundamentally changing the understanding of the evolution of an indisputably indispensable anatomical feature: the jaw. Scientists said on Thursday they unearthed in China’s Yunnan province fossils of a primordial fish called Qilinyu rostrata that was about 12 inches (30 cm) long and possessed the telltale bones present in modern vertebrate jaws including in people. Qilinyu was part of an extinct fish group called placoderms, clad in bony armor covering the head and much of the body and boasting jaws armed with bony plates that acted as teeth to slice and dice prey.

Scientists reveal most accurate depiction of a dinosaur ever created

14 September 2016

  • It’s not like anything seen alive on Earth today: it’s the size of large turkey, but with a face like a Jim Henson puppet. The head is a shoe-box with eyes, the Frankensteinian flatness on top accentuated by horns sticking out horizontally from each cheek. A parrot-like beak juts out at the front. One researcher reaches out and dares to touch the broom-like bristles that erupt from its tail. Another leans over and studiously peers up at the animal’s bottom. This was the scene at the unveiling of paleoartist Bob Nicholls’ new reconstruction of Psittacosaurus. Hailed as the most accurate dinosaur reconstruction ever, it is based on studies of a spectacular fossil from China, carried out by a team led by Dr Jakob Vinther of the UK’s University of Bristol.

Four New Parasitoid Wasp Species Discovered in China

Sep 09, 2016

  • The four new species of Gasteruption pannuceum (G. pannuceum) belonging to the genus Gasteruption were discovered in the mountainous regions of China’s Shaanxi and Ningxia provinces. G. pannuceum gets its name from the wrinkled sheath covering its midsection. The Latin word “pannuceus” means wrinkled. The four new species are G. bicoloratum, G. huangshii, G. pannuceum and G. shengi.

Scientists Find a Nearly Complete Hadrosaur in Inner Mongolia

Aug 12, 2016

  • Chinese scientists have uncovered a rare, nearly complete skeleton of a dinosaur known as a hadrosaur in Inner Mongolia. The specimen, which contained more than 300 pieces comprising about 90 percent of a complete skeleton, was first discovered in 2012 in the Urad Black Banner area of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Extensive excavation of the site to retrieve the fossil pieces began in June of 2013, the Global Times reported. A hadrosaur is is a type of dinosaur that lived during the late Cretaceous period, around 100-66 million years ago. Also dubbed as “duck-billed” dinosaur because of its uniquely shaped snout, the herbivorous hadrosaur is believed to have been widespread in Asia, Europe, North and South America and even Antarctica. This has made the type a fairly common fossil find.

Evidence from China shows how plants colonized the land

August 9, 2016

  • New fossil finds from China push back the origins of deep soils by 20 million years, new research published today has uncovered. This is a key part of the stepwise conquest of the land and transformation of the continents, researchers from the universities of Peking and Bristol have discovered. One of the greatest transitions in Earth history was the greening of the land. Up to 450 million years ago, there was no life outside water, and the land surface was a rocky landscape. Without plants there were no soils, and the rocky landscape eroded fast. Then the first tiny plants crept out of the water, and provided a green fringe. However, they could not venture far from the edge of the water.The new Chinese find, published today (8 August) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is of deep rooting systems in Early Devonian rocks, from Yunnan in South China.

New old world vulture found from the Late Miocene of China

August 4, 2016

  • Neogene fossils of Old World vultures (Aegypiinae and Gypaetinae) are known from Africa, Eurasia, and North America. The evolution of Old World Vultures is closely tied to the expansion of grasslands and open woodlands and appearance of large, grazing mammals. While there are no extant Old World vultures in the Americas today, a large diversity of Gypaetinae are known from Miocene to late Pleistocene fossil deposits. Despite a comparatively large number of North American Gypaetinae fossils, complete specimens have rarely been reported from Eurasia and Africa. In a recent study published online on July 20 in the journal Auk, LI Zhiheng and Clarke Julia from the University of Texas at Austin and their collaborators ZHOU Zhonghe and DENG Tao from IVPP described the exceptional skeleton of a new Gypaetinae vulture, Mioneophron longirostris, from the late Miocene deposits of the Linxia Basin in northwestern China. In comparison with other extant and extinct Old World vultures, the new specimen has a slender and elongated rostrum, similar to the beaks of the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus; Gypaetinae) and the Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus; Aegypiinae). Based on the comprehensive examination of Old World vulture records and their skeletal features, the new specimen was identified as the oldest record of Gypaetinae from Eurasia or Africa.

Skull analysis of Qingmenodus offers insight into creatures between pre-lobed fish and tetrapods

June 6, 2016

  • A team of researchers working at the Chinese Academy of Sciences has uncovered new characteristics of Qingmenodus, an Onychodont that lived during the time between fish without lobed fins and tetrapods. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes their study of the fish and discuss its possible place in the evolutionary history of the creatures that eventually made their way onto land. Onychodonts lived approximately 400 million years ago, which means their fossil remains are few and far between, and study of those that have been found has not always been very productive. Still, scientists have found evidence of very ancient primitive fish that did not have lobed fins and evidence of less primitive fish with fully formed lobed fins (necessary for the development of fins that could be used to initially walk about on land), but have not had much luck in finding fish samples that represent the time between these other two groups. This has led to lively debates among early life scholars regarding the evolutionary tree regarding all of the various fishes that eventually led to the ones that actually crawled out of the sea to become our true ancestors. Recently, however, a good sample was found, the remains of a 409 million year Qingmenodus—in China—and more importantly, it had a well-ossified skull. To get a good look at it, inside and out, the team used high-resolution tomography to capture images of the internal structures of the braincase, which allowed them to reconstruct the cranial endocast.