Yes I’m back from Zhucheng, home of you-know-who and of course, the most magical bone in China. Previously I’ve been in a complex position of being unwilling and sort of unable to show much off about what is going on in and around these fossil sites, but as publications start to appear and the museum / display sections begin to get completed, then I can do a little better than things like this skull picture.
Currently there are three major excavations of bones going on at Zhucheng, two that all but abut one another and another just a few hundred meters away, plus a large trackway site a good few km further out. Between them these are yielding *thousands* of bones and hundreds of tracks. This place is going to keep palaeontologists busy for a very long time. Between the tyrannosaur and hadrosaur work, I’ve now been out there four or five times and each visit brings new surprises. Major excavations of fossils aside, numerous buildings for visitors, display and construction as well as work on the material continue to spring up.
Most of this will likely be completed late this summer with at least one ‘museum’ building opening soon (they are planning a whole series, based around the quarries themselves). Still an impressive (if temporary) visitors centre is now open and coupled with the existing small museum in the centre of town, I’m in a position to show off some what what has been going on here. Since the Musings has been a bit quiet of late, I thought I’d spread this out over the whole week with themed posts on various aspects of the place and the displays (sorry, not many actual bones will be coming).
Here, very obviously, I’m starting with some mounts of the colossal Shantungosaurus. A massive hadrosaur which dominates these beds and makes up the vast majority of the bones found here. It’s probably hard to get a real sense of scale, but in short, they are sodding huge. You might just be able to spot me between a couple of them in one of this last image as a sense of scale.