Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Guanling Lagerstätte

One of the places I went to on my recent South China trip was the Guanling Lagerstätte. This is Late Triassic in age, about 220 million years old or so – so considerably younger than the rocks we normally look at. As is often the case in China, the fossil site has been made into a museum. There is a purpose-built building housing a lot of fossil material and a short walking trail around some of the outcrops. Some of the larger fossils (mostly ichthyosaurs) have been left in situ and had protective shelters built around them.

The photo shows slabs with lots of crinoids (sea lilies) on display in the museum. The crinoids are thought to have been attached to floating logs (although it’s only fair to say that this isn’t universally accepted, and the crinoids may have grown on sunken logs on the sea floor instead).

More photographs on flickr, showing marine reptiles, crinoids and their logs, and more of the museum displays.


Saturday, 5 November 2011

Garden at Huanguoshu waterfall

It’s been a busy few weeks. After I came back from the conference in the US, I went off to Guizhou Province, South China for two weeks of fieldwork. The first week was with an Argentinian graptolite worker who was visiting Nanjing, so we went around already known sites. Some of them I had seen before, but it’s always good to go back to places, especially as I found a couple of sponges! For part of the week I “attended” the conference of the Palaeontological Society of China. “Attended” because I only went to the opening ceremony, and the rest of the time either worked in my hotel room or went to various interesting tourist sites with the Argentinian. There was little point in attending the talks, as they were entirely in Chinese and my language skills are not yet good enough to understand much.

The photo was taken in a garden at one of the sites we visited, called Huangguoshu Waterfall. I thought it looked like a stereotypically Chinese scene. The waterfall itself was about a hundred metres long, and there was a cave behind it, so it was possible to walk all the way round. Pictures of the waterfall are on my flickr photostream (click on the photo to follow the link).

The second week of fieldwork I went back to a site I had collected from earlier this year. I went to the site looking for graptolites, but also found various interesting things including worms. This time the worms were a bit lax in coming forward – none were found until the last hour of fieldwork, and then three came along in quick succession! I’m currently writing up a paper for publication, so more details will be forthcoming once that comes out.

Joe is currently in Canada looking at Burgess Shale sponges. I expect he will do a blog post about his adventures sometime.