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News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Fossils dating back about 90 million years ago were found in Henan province of China in the early 1990s, but they have only now been identified as belonging to a previously unknown dinosaur species. Named Beibeilong sinesis, the oviraptorosaur was a giant bird-like dinosaur which is the largest known animal to have sat on its nest and care for its young. B. sinesis lived during the Cretaceous Period about 90 million years ago. The adults likely stood about eight meters (over 26 feet) tall and weighed close to three tons. Its ring-shaped nest was two-three meters in diameter and contained a clutch of over two dozen eggs, each of which was up to 45 centimeters (a foot and a half) long and weighed about five kilograms (over 11 pounds). The species was closely related to birds, and probably had feathers, wings and a beak. The new species was described in a paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications by a team of Chinese, Canadian and Slovakian researchers. The discovery was based on fossils of large eggs and an embryo that were found in Henan over 20 years ago, but were exported out of China, to the United States, soon after. “This particular fossil was outside the country for over 20 years and its return to China finally allowed us to properly study the specimen and name a new dinosaur species, Beibeilong sinensis or baby dragon from China,” Lü Junchang, a paleontologist at the Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, said in a statement released Tuesday. The fossils were all found at a nest site, and the embryo died while hatching out of an egg. The fossilization of a smaller-bodied individuals while sitting on top of eggs led the researchers to conclude the species sat on their nests to incubate the eggs and cared for their young, making them largest ones to do so. Darla Zelenitsky, a professor at the University of Calgary who was part of the research team that described the fossil, said in the statement: “For many years it was a mystery as to what kind of dinosaur laid these enormous eggs and nests. Because fossils of large theropods, like tyrannosaurs, were also found in the rocks in Henan, some people initially thought the eggs may have belonged to a tyrannosaur. Thanks to this fossil, we now know that these eggs were laid by a gigantic oviraptorosaur, a dinosaur that would have looked a lot like an overgrown cassowary. It would have been a sight to behold with a three ton animal like this sitting on its nest of eggs.”


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: www.sciencenews.org

A fossil dinosaur embryo known as “Baby Louie” has a new name. It belongs to a newly identified species of dinosaur called Beibeilong sinensis, researchers report May 9 in Nature Communications. In the 1980s and 1990s, farmers found thousands of fossilized dinosaur eggs in the rocks of Henan Province in China and sold them overseas. It turned out that one chunk of rock, purchased by a company that sells museum-quality fossils and rock specimens, held not only eggs but also an embryonic dinosaur skeleton. It was dubbed “Baby Louie,” after a National Geographic photographer whose images of it appeared in a cover story for the magazine. Paleontologists knew Baby Louie was some kind of oviraptorosaur, a two-legged, birdlike dinosaur. But its species was a mystery. So in 2015, Junchang Lü of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences in Beijing and colleagues returned to the site in China where the eggs were excavated. They analyzed fossils there and examined Baby Louie’s remains, now housed in the Henan Geological Museum. The embryo measures 38 centimeters from its snout to the start of its tail and dates to about 90 million years ago. Based on the structure of Baby Louie’s facial bones and other anatomical features, the team declared the dinosaur a new species. In Chinese, Beibei means “baby” and long means “dragon.” Baby Louie’s skeleton was found with six to eight similar-looking dinosaur eggs. This type of dino egg is the largest identified to date and appears to have been abundant, leading paleontologists to think that birdlike dinosaurs like Baby Louie were common in the Late Cretaceous. Editor's Note: This story was updated on May 12, 2017, to reflect that it is “paleontologists” who typically study dinosaur bones.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

A new species of giant bird-like dinosaur--which tended to enormous nests that were bigger than a monster truck tire--has been discovered in Henan, China. The new species, named Beibeilong, lived about 90 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. It is described by a joint Chinese-Canadian-Slovakia team based on a number of large eggs and an associated embryo that were collected in China in the early 1990s but then exported out of the country. At one time, many fossil eggs collected in Henan were being exported out of China to other countries. "This particular fossil was outside the country for over 20 years and its return to China finally allowed us to properly study the specimen and name a new dinosaur species, Beibeilong sinensis or baby dragon from China." says Prof. Lü Junchang, a paleontologist at the Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences. The eggs are up to 45 centimeters long and weighed about five kilograms, making them some of the largest dinosaur eggs ever discovered. They were found in a ring-shaped clutch, which was part of a nest that was about 2-3 meters in diameter and probably contained two dozen or more eggs. "For many years it was a mystery as to what kind of dinosaur laid these enormous eggs and nests. Because fossils of large theropods, like tyrannosaurs, were also found in the rocks in Henan, some people initially thought the eggs may have belonged to a tyrannosaur," says Dr. Darla Zelenitsky, a professor at the University of Calgary who was part of the research team that described the fossil. "Thanks to this fossil, we now know that these eggs were laid by a gigantic oviraptorosaur, a dinosaur that would have looked a lot like an overgrown cassowary. It would have been a sight to behold with a three ton animal like this sitting on its nest of eggs." Study of the bones of an embryo that died while hatching out of one of the eggs reveals that the egg-layer is a new species of oviraptorosaur, a type of feathered, wing-bearing, beaked dinosaur closely related to birds. Although bones of the adult are not known, it was probably in the ballpark of eight meters long and 3 tons in body mass, based on comparison to close relatives. Because fossils of smaller-bodied, close relatives have been fossilized while sitting on top of their eggs, the authors describe the new giant oviraptorosaur species as the largest known dinosaur to have sat on its nest and cared for its young. "The fossils were originally collected by farmers in Henan Province of China in 1993, but were subsequently exported out of China to the USA. The eggs and embryo gained worldwide fame when they were featured in a National Geographic article in 1996, but it was impossible to describe them in a scientific journal--and to name the new species--until the fossils were repatriated to China," says Prof. Philip Currie, a professor and research chair at the University of Alberta. Recently the fossils were returned to China and permanently accessioned into the Henan Geological Museum. This allowed the Chinese-Canadian team to study them, and they present their results in a paper in the leading journal Nature Communications.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A new species of giant bird-like dinosaur -- which tended to enormous nests that were bigger than a monster truck tire -- has been discovered in Henan, China A new species of giant bird-like dinosaur--which tended to enormous nests that were bigger than a monster truck tire--has been discovered in Henan, China. The new species, named Beibeilong, lived about 90 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. It is described by a joint Chinese-Canadian-Slovakia team based on a number of large eggs and an associated embryo that were collected in China in the early 1990s but then exported out of the country. At one time, many fossil eggs collected in Henan were being exported out of China to other countries. "This particular fossil was outside the country for over 20 years and its return to China finally allowed us to properly study the specimen and name a new dinosaur species, Beibeilong sinensis or baby dragon from China." says Prof. Lü Junchang, a paleontologist at the Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences. The eggs are up to 45 centimeters long and weighed about five kilograms, making them some of the largest dinosaur eggs ever discovered. They were found in a ring-shaped clutch, which was part of a nest that was about 2-3 meters in diameter and probably contained two dozen or more eggs. "For many years it was a mystery as to what kind of dinosaur laid these enormous eggs and nests. Because fossils of large theropods, like tyrannosaurs, were also found in the rocks in Henan, some people initially thought the eggs may have belonged to a tyrannosaur," says Dr. Darla Zelenitsky, a professor at the University of Calgary who was part of the research team that described the fossil. "Thanks to this fossil, we now know that these eggs were laid by a gigantic oviraptorosaur, a dinosaur that would have looked a lot like an overgrown cassowary. It would have been a sight to behold with a three ton animal like this sitting on its nest of eggs." Study of the bones of an embryo that died while hatching out of one of the eggs reveals that the egg-layer is a new species of oviraptorosaur, a type of feathered, wing-bearing, beaked dinosaur closely related to birds. Although bones of the adult are not known, it was probably in the ballpark of eight meters long and 3 tons in body mass, based on comparison to close relatives. Because fossils of smaller-bodied, close relatives have been fossilized while sitting on top of their eggs, the authors describe the new giant oviraptorosaur species as the largest known dinosaur to have sat on its nest and cared for its young. "The fossils were originally collected by farmers in Henan Province of China in 1993, but were subsequently exported out of China to the USA. The eggs and embryo gained worldwide fame when they were featured in a National Geographic article in 1996, but it was impossible to describe them in a scientific journal--and to name the new species--until the fossils were repatriated to China," says Prof. Philip Currie, a professor and research chair at the University of Alberta. Recently the fossils were returned to China and permanently accessioned into the Henan Geological Museum. This allowed the Chinese-Canadian team to study them, and they present their results today in a paper in the leading journal Nature Communications.


Jiang Z.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences | Lian Y.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Qin X.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
Earth-Science Reviews | Year: 2014

Rocky desertification, which is relatively less well known than desertification, refers to the processes and human activities that transform a karst area covered by vegetation and soil into a rocky landscape. It has occurred in various countries and regions, including the European Mediterranean and Dinaric Karst regions of the Balkan Peninsula, Southwest China on a large scale, and alarmingly, even in tropical rainforests such as Haiti and Barbados, and has had tremendous negative impacts to the environment and social and economic conditions at local and regional scales. The goal of this paper is to provide a thorough review of the impacts, causes, and restoration measures of rocky desertification based on decades of studies in the southwest karst area of China and reviews of studies in Europe and other parts of the world. The low soil formation rate and high permeability of carbonate rocks create a fragile and vulnerable environment that is susceptible to deforestation and soil erosion. Other natural processes related to hydrology and ecology could exacerbate rocky desertification. However, disturbances from a wide variety of human activities are ultimately responsible for rocky desertification wherever it has occurred. This review shows that reforestation can be successful in Southwest China and even in the Dinaric Karst region when the land, people, water, and other resources are managed cohesively. However, new challenges may arise as more frequent droughts and extreme floods induced by global climate change and variability may slow the recovery process or even expand rocky desertification. This review is intended to bring attention to this challenging issue and provide information needed to advance research and engineering practices to combat rocky desertification and to aid in sustainable development. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Condie K.C.,New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology | Kroner A.,University Mainz | Kroner A.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
Gondwana Research | Year: 2013

Oceanic arcs are commonly cited as primary building blocks of continents, yet modern oceanic arcs are mostly subducted. Also, lithosphere buoyancy considerations show that oceanic arcs (even those with a felsic component) should readily subduct. With the exception of the Arabian-Nubian orogen, terranes in post-Archean accretionary orogens comprise < 10% of accreted oceanic arcs, whereas continental arcs compose 40-80% of these orogens. Nd and Hf isotopic data suggest that accretionary orogens include 40-65% juvenile crustal components, with most of these (> 50%) produced in continental arcs. Felsic igneous rocks in oceanic arcs are depleted in incompatible elements compared to average continental crust and to felsic igneous rocks from continental arcs. They have lower Th/Yb, Nb/Yb, Sr/Y and La/Yb ratios, reflecting shallow mantle sources in which garnet did not exist in the restite during melting. The bottom line of these geochemical differences is that post-Archean continental crust does not begin life in oceanic arcs. On the other hand, the remarkable similarity of incompatible element distributions in granitoids and felsic volcanics from continental arcs is consistent with continental crust being produced in continental arcs. During the Archean, however, oceanic arcs may have been thicker due to higher degrees of melting in the mantle, and oceanic lithosphere would be more buoyant. These arcs may have accreted to each other and to oceanic plateaus, a process that eventually led to the production of Archean continental crust. After the Archean, oceanic crust was thinner due to cooling of the mantle and less melt production at ocean ridges, hence, oceanic lithosphere is more subductable. Widespread propagation of plate tectonics in the late Archean may have led not only to rapid production of continental crust, but to a change in the primary site of production of continental crust, from accreted oceanic arcs and oceanic plateaus in the Archean to primarily continental arcs thereafter. © 2011 International Association for Gondwana Research.


Gao L.-E.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences | Zeng L.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta | Year: 2014

Identifying the timing of formation and geochemical nature of the Cenozoic granites along the Himalayan orogen is essential to test or formulate models that link crustal anatexis with tectonic transition during the evolution of large-scale collisional orogenic belts. The Malashan gneiss dome, one of the prominent domes within the Tethyan Himalaya, experienced Barrovian-type metamorphism and partial melting of pelitic rocks at relatively deep levels during the collision between India and Eurasia. New LA-MC-ICP-MS zircon U-Pb analyses yielded that the Malashan two-mica granites formed at a time span of 17.6±0.1 to 16.9±0.1Ma. The Malashan two-mica granites are characterized by: (1) high SiO2 (>71.3wt.%), Al2O3 (>14.8wt.%), and relatively high CaO (>1.3wt.%); (2) relatively high Sr (>146ppm), but low Rb/Sr ratios (<1.3) which are nearly constant relative to large variations in Ba concentrations; (3) enrichment in LREE, depletion in HREE, and no or weak negative Eu anomalies (Eu/Eu*=0.7-0.9); (4) as compared to granites in the other Northern Himalayan Gneiss Domes and High Himalayan Belt, relatively lower initial 87Sr/86Sr ratios (0.7391-0.7484) and similar unradiogenic Nd isotope compositions (εNd(t)=-13.7 to -14.4). These characteristics imply that the two-mica granites were derived from fluid-fluxing melting of metapelite, possibly triggered by the E-W extension. Our new data in combination with literature data indicate that there are three types of granites with diverse geochemical characteristics and distinct formation mechanisms along the Himalayan orogen since the Cenozoic India-Eurasia continental collision. Conceivably, our new results will provide new insights on how the partial melting behavior of relatively deeper crustal rocks evolved as the tectonic evolution of large orogenic belts. © 2014.


Li Z.H.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
Science China Earth Sciences | Year: 2014

Continental subduction and collision normally follows oceanic subduction, with the remarkable event of formation and exhumation of high-to ultra-high-pressure (HP-UHP) metamorphic rocks. Based on the summary of numerical geodynamic models, six modes of continental convergence have been identified: pure shear thickening, folding and buckling, one-sided steep subduction, flat subduction, two-sided subduction, and subducting slab break-off. In addition, the exhumation of HP-UHP rocks can be formulated into eight modes: thrust fault exhumation, buckling exhumation, material circulation, overpressure model, exhumation of a coherent crustal slice, episodic ductile extrusion, slab break-off induced eduction, and exhumation through fractured overriding lithosphere. During the transition from subduction to exhumation, the weakening and detachment of subducted continental crust are prerequisites. However, the dominant weakening mechanisms and their roles in the subduction channel are poorly constrained. To a first degree approximation, the mechanism of continental subduction and exhumation can be treated as a subduction channel flow model, which incorporates the competing effects of downward Couette (subduction) flow and upward Poiseuille (exhumation) flow in the subduction channel. However, the (de-)hydration effect plays significant roles in the deformation of subduction channel and overriding lithosphere, which thereby result in very different modes from the simple subduction channel flow. Three-dimensionality is another important issue with highlighting the along-strike differential modes of continental subduction, collision and exhumation in the same continental convergence belt. © 2013, Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Geng Y.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences | Du L.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences | Ren L.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
Gondwana Research | Year: 2012

We synthesize more than 2600 Hf isotope data on the Archean-Paleoproterozoic zircons from the North China Craton (NCC). Recalculation of the data based on single stage and two-stage Hf model ages of the Eastern Block of the NCC shows peak ages of 3902±13Ma and 3978±18Ma, respectively, and also small peaks at 3.5-4.0Ga. The majority of zircon ε Hf(t) values are positive, suggesting the possibility of the crust and the mantle differentiation at ca. 3.9-4.0Ga in the Eastern Block of the NCC. Most magmatic zircons from the whole of NCC have their Hf model age range of 2.4-2.9Ga, and the single stage model ages is cluster at 2698±4Ma, whereas the two-stage model ages concentrate at 2714±5Ma, implying that the protoliths were juvenile crustal rocks. The most prominent peak at 2.7Ga indicates that this period marks the most important stage of the crust-mantle differentiation and crust formation of the NCC. The widespread 2.5Ga rocks in the NCC and the absence of the 2.5Ga peaks in Hf model ages are consistent with the partial melting and reworking of the juvenile rocks at 2.5Ga. Furthermore, the 2.5-1.7Ga zircon Hf isotope features are also related to the reworking of the crustal rocks. Our results from the integration of a large database suggest that the Eastern Block and the Trans-North China Orogen have undergone similar crust-mantle differentiation and magmatism, leading to the conclusion that the essential cratonization of the North China took place at the end of Neoarchean. © 2011.


An M.,Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences
Geophysical Journal International | Year: 2012

The resolution matrix of an inverse problem defines a linear relationship in which each solution parameter is derived from the weighted averages of nearby true-model parameters, and the resolution matrix elements are the weights. Resolution matrices are not only widely used to measure the solution obtainability or the inversion perfectness from the data based on the degree to which the matrix approximates the identity matrix, but also to extract spatial-resolution or resolution-length information. Resolution matrices presented in previous spatial-resolution analysis studies can be divided into three classes: direct resolution matrix, regularized/stabilized resolution matrix and hybrid resolution matrix. The direct resolution matrix can yield resolution-length information only for ill-posed inverse problems. The regularized resolution matrix cannot give any spatial-resolution information. The hybrid resolution matrix can provide resolution-length information; however, this depends on the regularization contribution to the inversion. The computation of the matrices needs matrix operation, however, this is often a difficult problem for very large inverse problems. Here, a new class of resolution matrices, generated using a Gaussian approximation (called the statistical resolution matrices), is proposed whereby the direct determination of the matrix is accomplished via a simple one-parameter non-linear inversion performed based on limited pairs of random synthetic models and their inverse solutions. Tests showed that a statistical resolution matrix could not only measure the resolution obtainable from the data, but also provided reasonable spatial/temporal resolution or resolution-length information. The estimates were restricted to forward/inversion processes and were independent of the degree of inverse skill used in the solution inversion; therefore, the original inversion codes did not need to be modified. The absence of a requirement for matrix operations during the estimation process indicated that this approach is particularly suitable for very large linear/linearized inverse problems. The estimation of statistical resolution matrices is useful for both direction-dependent and direction-independent resolution estimations. Interestingly, even a random synthetic input model without specific checkers provided an inverse output solution that yielded a checkerboard pattern that gave not only indicative resolution-length information but also information on the direction dependence of the resolution. © 2012 The Author Geophysical Journal International © 2012 RAS.

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