February, 2005

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Two Palaeontological Discoveries Attract World's Attention

The American magazine Discover has chosen 100 pieces of science news in the world for the year 2004. Two Palaeontological discoveries in China-the first pterosaur egg and embryo fossils in the world and the most ancient bilaterian animal -are on the list.

Lacking evidence about whether Pterosaurs were oviparous or not, arguments in the academic world have been going on for hundreds of years. On June 10, 2004, a paper was carried in the magazine Nature, about the Pterosaur embryos in early Cretaceous Period (about 121 million years ago) discovered in Rehe biocommunity, Liaoxi, China, published by Wang Xiaolin and Zhou Zonghe, research fellows in paleontology from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Palaeonthropology, CAS. This important new discovery has proved beyond doubt that Pterosaurs were oviparous, not viviparous, like other reptiles and birds.

Chen Junyan, research fellow of the Institute of Geology and Paleontology, CAS and other Chinese and American Paleontologists published a paper in the magazine Science in July 2004, describing their findings: the most ancient bilaterian animals. The animal's fossil (about 600 million years back), named Vernanimalcula guizhouena, only 0.2 millimeter long, has preserved symmetrical structure on both sides like a pair of coeloms and paired sense pits.

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