A city in the southern province of Guangdong was officially titled "Hometown of the Dinosaur in China" on Sunday afternoon at an international paleontological event.
Heyuan City was honored by China Geological Survey's Stratum and Paleontology Center as 40 paleontologists from China, the US, France, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Canada and Belgium attended the first Heyuan International Dinosaur Seminar.
According to Professor Zhao Zikui from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Palaeoanthropology, dinosaur egg fossils unearthed in China account for one third of the total found in the world.
Professor Louis Jacobs from the US said after a trip to Shixia Dinosaur Egg Fossils Site on Saturday that the geology of Heyuan is special in helping to preserve fossilized eggs, and plays a unique role in helping understand Asian dinosaurs.
Heyuan has earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records after finds of 10,008 dinosaur egg fossils. Eight fossilized dinosaur skeletons and 168 dinosaur footprints have also been discovered in the area, attracting the attention of experts both at home and abroad.
The fossils unearthed in Heyuan all come from the late Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago. Of them, seven are of a member of the oviraptor family named Heyuannia huangi, described by Lu Junchang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2003 and since appraised as a first class state cultural relic.
It is reported that the city signed a one billion yuan (US$121 million) contract with the Guangsheng Company last year to develop the dinosaur site park within five years.
It will aim to reflect the excavation and research achievements there, making it a base for educating and popularizing science as well as an amusement park.
Last year, Heyuan's government designated the Shixia Dinosaur Egg Fossils Site and the surrounding 2.26-square-kilometer area as the site of the park. Of it, one square kilometer will form the core protection area, to protect the original site of the fossils. Auxiliary facilities will be built on the remaining space.
It is expected that, upon its completion, the park will be able to accommodate two million people, with an annual income of 200 million yuan (US$24 million).
(China.org.cn by Wang Qian, April 11, 2005)