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China builds dam to protect fossils
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Workers have spent three years building a huge earth dam to protect valuable dinosaur bones from being washed away by one of China's most famous rivers.

A cache of dinosaur bones lies buried in a mountain that sits right on the river that forms the boundary between China and Russia - the Heilongjiang River.

So far, thousands of dinosaur fossil bones have been unearthed from the mountain and assembled into 13 dinosaur skeletons that are now exhibited in several museums nationwide.

Archaeologists believe there are enough fossil bones buried in the mountain to put together at least 100 more dinosaur skeletons. Every summer, rising waters and strong currents erode parts of the mountain, leaving dinosaur fossils exposed, and many fossils have been washed away in the past.

To prevent this from happening, the Land and Resources Department of Heilongjiang Province ordered the construction of a 1,450-meter-long embankment on the Chinese side of the river to stop the fossils from being washed away.

Building the embankment has been difficult, with workers battling cold and long winters at a high altitude in China's northernmost province. Rising water levels in the summer also limit construction, and it has taken workers three years to complete the 1,450-meter-long, 5.5-meter-high, and 10-meter wide embankment around the dinosaur fossil site.

"The embankment could effectively protect the Dinosaur Mountain from threats of water erosion and floods, thus, the dinosaur fossils are rescued from being washed away," said Li Jinshan, vice director of Jiayin Dinosaur National Geologic Park Administrative Bureau.

Dinosaur Mountain, which used to be called Mountain of Dinosaur Bones, is inside Jiayin Dinosaur National Geologic Park at Jiayin County, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

(Xinhua News Agency October 22, 2007)

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