Chinese Fossils Make Debut at Cincinnati Museum

By | August 28th, 2010|Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Fossils from the Henan Province (China) on Display at Cincinnati Museum Centre

Some huge vertebrae from a recently discovered titanosaur and the remarkably preserved nest of an Oviraptor are on display at the Cincinnati Museum Centre from August 27th until mid October.  The museum, located on Western Avenue, Cincinnati (Ohio) has developed a strong partnership with Henan Geological Museum and as a result they have been able to obtain permission to display some of the spectacular finds from Henan.

Henan Province is in eastern China, and is one of the most heavily populated administrative regions on the planet.  It has provided a huge range of dinosaur and other vertebrate specimens over the last fifty years or so, with much of the material unearthed from strata dating from the Lower Cretaceous.  The fossils on display include a 3 metre long rib bone and some of the huge caudal vertebrae (tail bones) of an enormous titanosaur (long-necked dinosaur).  Palaeontologists assigned by the Chinese Academy of Sciences from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology (Beijing) uncovered the fossils with the help of local residents.  The remains were identified as a new species and this animal has been formerly named and described (Huanghetitan ruyangensis).  Scientists estimate that this Chinese titanosaur measured over 30 metres long, although such estimates are difficult to make from the remains uncovered so far (sacral vertebrae, ten proximal caudal vertebrae, part of the pelvis).

Photographs show, the Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the Cincinnati Museum Centre, Glenn Storrs and Stephanie Lowe viewing the huge tail bones of the gigantic titanosaur, a dinosaur that is unique to Henan Province.  This is the first time these fossils have been put on display in the United States.

Also part of the exhibit is a fossilised Macroenlongatoolithus nest.  This particular fossil, one of the best preserved examples of a dinosaur nest in the world, contains twenty-six eggs arranged in pairs.  Although, scientists cannot be certain what dinosaur laid the eggs, it is likely that Macroenlongatoolithus was a member of the Oviraptorosauria.  Oviraptor fossils are known from the Northern Hemisphere, most of them have been found in China.  These dinosaurs were extremely bird-like, not only in their general anatomy but also in the presence of a beak and the shoulders were strengthened by a collarbone.  Some palaeontologists have suggested that these animals may actually have been birds instead of dinosaurs.

The fossils on display highlight the Cincinnati Museum’s international partnership with Henan Geological Museum.  A number of dignitaries, including the Henan Geological Museum president; toured the Museum yesterday when the exhibition opened.

Dr Glenn Storrs commented:

“This international partnership represents a new collaboration between the Henan Geological Museum and the Cincinnati Museum Centre, and highlights the scientific and educational benefit we can derive from sharing specimens.  By sharing discoveries and insight with one another, we can both grown as institutions of education and innovation.”