The Four-Winged Dinosaur
Microraptor's World
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Fossils of the Cretaceous

The remains of feathered dinosaurs, spectacular as they may be, are just some of the wonders that Chinese paleontologists have discovered in the fossil beds of Liaoning Province. In this area of northeastern China roughly 130 million years ago, volcanoes repeatedly and catastrophically showered down fine-grained ash, capturing remarkable details of many doomed ancient animals—skin texture, fur, and downy filaments—as well as preserving delicate plants usually missing in the fossil record. The abundance and quality of the fossils have allowed scientists to reconstruct a vivid picture of an Early Cretaceous ecosystem and gain insights into how modern plants and animals evolved. In the following slide show, get a glimpse of the creatures—some familiar, others entirely alien—that inhabited the forests, marshlands, rivers, and lakes of the region long ago.—Susan K. Lewis

Note: Special thanks to Mark Norell, Chair and Curator, and Mick Ellison, Principal Artist, of the Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History. Their book Unearthing the Dragon (PI Press, 2005) served as the primary source for this slide show.

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© | Created February 2008