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Some 1,000 Dinosaur Fossils Found in Sichuan
Scientists detected with advanced geophysical prospecting techniques more than 1,000 dinosaur fossils in China's "dinosaur cemetery" in the Dashanpu area in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The area is about 300,000 square meters, about the size of 66 soccer fields.

Since 1979, scientists have worked on nearly one percent of the area, 2,800 square meters, and unearthed over 100 Sauropod fossils, the first dinosaurs to walk on four short and equal-length legs, and some other species of dinosaurs.

The longest dinosaur fossil excavated in the cemetery stretches 20 meters, while the smallest one spans 1.4 meters.

About 160 million years ago, Sichuan basin was an alluvial flat with exuberant foliage and Dashanpu area was a delta where dinosaurs propagated and thrived, said Peng Guangzhao, deputy curator of Zigong Dinosaur Museum.

However, scientists are still working on the cause for the uncommon density of dinosaur bodies in such a limited area. The dinosaurs might have died in Dashanpu or been pushed there by flooding, Peng said.

Meanwhile, the area has yielded many other vertebrate fossils including turtles, crocodiles, fishes and reptiles similar to mammals.

Judging by the fossils already unearthed, Dashanpu still stores various kinds of vertebrates besides dinosaurs and paleontologists are planning a thorough-going study of the cemetery, Peng said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 8, 2003)

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