China has become a mecca for palaeontologists worldwide because of the constant new discoveries of ancient fossilized organisms, says American scientist D. L. Dilcher.
Dilcher and a team of world-renowned scientists are in Jiayin County, in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, seeking clues to the catastrophe that depopulated the earth of dinosaurs about 65 million years ago.
Scientists hope to find the cause of the depopulation in this county, where a great many fossils of dinosaurs that lived in the late Cretaceous period have been unearthed.
Dinosaur research has been going on in China for 100 years and what has been done here forms an indispensable chapter in the world's magnum opus on the subject, says Dong Zhiming, a noted Chinese dinosaur expert and professor at Jilin University.
The 65-year-old professor has been involved in dinosaur research for 40 years.
China, which has gone far beyond simply collecting research materials and classifying discoveries, is now involved in much deeper studies of the dinosaur using new, advanced research methods, Dong said.
"We can ascertain something of their living habits by studying the contents of their stomachs," Dong added.
The scientist said the land mass of China was not covered with seas during the period when the dinosaurs lived, and the terrestrial environment was right for the evolution of dinosaurs.
China deserves the name "nation of dinosaurs," Dong said. The fossil remains of 119 of the nearly 900 dinosaur species identified so far have been found here.
Five dinosaur species unearthed in China - including Lufengosaurus Huenei from the early Jurassic period, Shunosaurus from the middle Jurassic period, Mamenchisaurus from the late Jurassic period and the duck-billed dinosaur from the late Cretaceous period - basically illustrate the complete evolutionary course of dinosaurs, according to Dong.