Volcanic ash spewing in to the atmosphere. Image Credit: C.G. Newhall / USGS
The remarkable preservation of 120-million-year-old fossil beds in China may have finally been explained.
Scientists have long pondered over how such a huge array of fossil creatures managed to end up so well preserved in China's Liaoning province. Dating back to the Cretaceous era, the fossils include birds, fish, insects and some of the earliest known feathered dinosaurs.
Now researchers from Nanjing University believe that they've discovered the answer by comparing the preservation of the animal fossils with that of a far more recent event - the volcanic disaster that befell the Roman city of Pompeii back in 79 AD.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted, the city and its people were instantly encased in a tomb of ash that preserved them in whatever position they had been in at the time. Scientists believe that the same thing happened in China, preserving the animals more than 120 million years ago.
"All the studied fossils are directly embedded within pyroclastic flows," said lead researcher Baoyu Jiang. "And the preserved animals are characterised by entombment poses and showed evidence of charring, similar to those associated with victims at Pompeii."
Source: BBC News | Comments (2)
Fossil, Volcano, Pompeii