Earth Sciences in Mongolia
Earth Sciences doctoral students John Graf and Thomas Adams, who provided the reports for this blog, along with Professor Louis L. Jacobs, are traveling to Mongolia as a part of a multi-international dinosaur expedition hosted by the city of Hwaseong in the Republic of Korea. The purpose of the project is to discover, collect and study dinosaur fossils from the Gobi desert in Mongolia, which is one of the most important dinosaur localities in the world.
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In addition to SMU researchers, the multinational team includes researchers from Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) and Paleontological Center, Mongolian Academy of Sciences and the University of Alberta, Canada. The project will be augmented each year by additional researchers from countries including the United States, Canada, Japan and China.
Fossil turtles everywhere
John, Louis, Dave and Nam-Soo spent the majority of the day working a fossil turtle locality, located near base camp. This was a site that Louis had discovered last year while working in the same region. Hundreds of turtles are preserved in layers of sandstone that was deposited by a river channel system. Like the therizino and ornithomimid quarries, this site had also been poached by pirates.
Turtle material seems to be one of the most common fossils in Bugin Tsav. No matter where I go, I find turtle shell. This is very telling as to what the environment must have been like 70 million years ago – a green river valley with enough water to support a large population of turtles, fish and dinosaurs. The mystery is that we find very few fossils of crocodiles.
(In photo: Fragments of shell from three different types of turtle.)
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