Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Huge deposit of Jurassic turtle remains found in China

Date:
October 29, 2012
Source:
Universitaet Tübingen
Summary:
"Bones upon bones, we couldn't believe our eyes," says one paleontologist. He was describing the spectacular find of some 1800 fossilized mesa chelonia turtles from the Jurassic era in China's northwest province of Xinjiang.

Block of turtle layer during preparation.
Credit: Copyright Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

“Bones upon bones, we couldn’t believe our eyes,” says Oliver Wings, paleontologist and guest researcher at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. He was describing the spectacular find of some 1800 fossilized mesa chelonia turtles from the Jurassic era in China’s northwest province of Xinjiang. Wings and the University of Tübingen’s fossil turtle specialist, Dr. Walter Joyce, were working with Chinese paleontologists there in 2008.

Related Articles


The results of their further work in 2009 and 2011 have just been published in the German journal Naturwissenschaften.

“This site has probably more than doubled the known number of individual turtles from the Jurassic,” says Walter Joyce. “Some of the shells were stacked up on top of one another in the rock.” It is what paleontologists call a “bone bed” – in this case consisting only of turtle remains.

Wings, Joyce and their team have made several expeditions to the arid region since 2007, finding fossil sharks, crocodiles, mammals and several dinosaur skeletons. Today one of the world’s driest regions, 160 million years ago Xinjiang was a green place of lakes and rivers, bursting with life. Yet the scientists have shown that even then, conditions were not always ideal, with climate change leading to seasonal drought – and this remarkable fossil find.

The turtles had gathered in one of the remaining waterholes during a very dry period, awaiting rain. Today’s turtles in Australia for instance do the same thing. But for the Xinjiang turtles, the rain came too late. Many of the turtles were already dead and their bodies rotting. When the water arrived, it came with a vengeance: a river of mud, washing the turtles and sediments along with it and dumping them in one place, as the paleontologists read the site and its layers of stone.

The large number of turtles allows the researchers to make a first statistical analysis of Asian turtles in the Jurassic period. Their simultaneous death and preservation makes it possible to compare variability, growth, and morphological differences among the species. The scientists are looking for sponsors to support further field studies and research into the dinosaur finds.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universitaet Tübingen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Oliver Wings, Márton Rabi, Jörg W. Schneider, Leonie Schwermann, Ge Sun, Chang-Fu Zhou, Walter G. Joyce. An enormous Jurassic turtle bone bed from the Turpan Basin of Xinjiang, China. Naturwissenschaften, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s00114-012-0974-5

Cite This Page:

Universitaet Tübingen. "Huge deposit of Jurassic turtle remains found in China." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121029111229.htm>.
Universitaet Tübingen. (2012, October 29). Huge deposit of Jurassic turtle remains found in China. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121029111229.htm
Universitaet Tübingen. "Huge deposit of Jurassic turtle remains found in China." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121029111229.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) — Video of pandas play fighting at the Chengdu Research Base in China will make your day. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) — Biofuels aren&apos;t the best alternative to fossil fuels, according to a new report. In fact, they&apos;re quite a bad one. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

3-D Printed Wheelchair Helps Two-Legged Dog Learn to Run

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) — 3-D printing helps another two-legged dog run around with his four-legged friends. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the adorable video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

RightThisMinute (Jan. 28, 2015) — From new-puppy happy tears to helpful-grocery-carrying-dog laughter, our four-legged best friends can make us feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins