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Prequel outshines the original: Exceptional fossils of 160 million year old doahugou biota

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Posted March 6, 2014
Prequel outshines the original: Exceptional fossils of 160 million year old doahugou biota
This is a reconstruction of the Daohugou fauna featuring feathered dinosaurs, pterosaurs, early mammals and amphibians among others. Credit: Artwork by Dr Julia Molnar
A new paper published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology shows that several Jurassic sites are linked together by shared species and can be recognized as representing a single fossil fauna and flora, containing superbly preserved specimens of a diverse group of amphibian, mammal, and reptile species.

Over the last two decades, huge numbers of fossils have been collected from the western Liaoning Province and adjacent parts of northeastern China, including exceptionally preserved feathered dinosaurs, early birds, and mammals. Most of these specimens are from the Cretaceous Period, including the famous Jehol Biota. However, in recent years many fossils have emerged from sites that are 30 million years earlier, from the Middle-Upper Jurassic Period, providing an exceptional window on life approximately 160 million years ago. A new paper published in latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology shows that several of these Jurassic sites are linked together by shared species and can be recognized as representing a single fossil fauna and flora, containing superbly preserved specimens of a diverse group of amphibian, mammal, and reptile species.

This fossil assemblage, newly named the Daohugou Biota after a village near one of the major localities in Inner Mongolia, China, dates from a time when many important vertebrate groups, including our own group, mammals, were undergoing evolutionary diversification.

Read more at: Phys.org

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