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Erenhot excavation reveals dinosaur fossil belt
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A new site measuring 70 square meters was uncovered in Erenhot in the northern part of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The site is located to the south of another site discovered in August 2006 and paleontologists claim that a fossil belt estimated at 800 sq. meters has been mapped out, Xinhua reported on October 14, 2007.

The fossils were found at a depth of only one meter, and compared to previous discoveries the bones unearthed here are both larger and better preserved, according to paleontologists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Inner Mongolia Institute of Paleontology.

"Based on the location of scattered bones, such a dinosaur here may have a body of approximately 20 meters long," said Xu Xing, a paleontologist at the CAS Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology & Paleoanthropology.

The newly found fossil belt of dinosaurs is far from the bank of the Eren Salt Lake, which may suggest that a natural disaster caused the extinction of the dinosaurs, Xinhua quoting an expert as saying. The paleontologists say the dinosaur fossils belong to the late Cretaceous period (around 65 million to 70 million years ago) when the huge animal suddenly became extinct.

This may be the second major archaeological discovery at the Eren Basin, after Chinese archaeologists found the remains of gigantic bird-like dinosaur there in 2005, overturning theories that dinosaurs became generally smaller as they evolved into birds.

To well protect the area, a 1,200 sq. meter hall is scheduled for construction on the site.

Erenhot City is the home of many world famous dinosaurs. The Eren Basin, site of the dinosaur fossils, lies 8 kilometers outside of the city, where many other fossils are buried, and where many of the world's most famous dinosaur fossils of the late Cretaceous have been found.

In the past 80 years many geologists from around the world have come here to investigate, and have excavated a large amount of fossils, including the first confirmed dinosaur egg fossils as well as over ten types of ancient animals, such as sauropods, theropods and ornithopods.

( by Wang Zhiyong, October 15, 2007)

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