Now I know why farmers discover most of the fossils here

A veiw of our morning field site.

We checked out of our hotel early and piled into the bus, stomachs full of a continental breakfast that was strikingly similar to a Chinese buffet. We drove a short distance to the outskirts of Leshuay, were we proceeded on foot to an old locality site. Ten years ago they had excavated an ankylosaur skeleton here and they hadn’t been back to prospect since. It did not take long for me to fully understand why most of the fossils here are discovered by farmers. Even though the formation has yielded many fossils, it’s vastly covered by vegetation. The few places where outcrop is exposed is usually were a farmer exposed it to plant a crop. I often felt accomplished just when I managed to discover bare ground. The group was unsuccessful finding any dinosaur bones, but the hike through farmland was a welcome change of pace to the urban areas. Dr. Jin knew of a farmer’s house that he had eaten at often when he was excavating the ankylosaur and we dined there for lunch. 

From there we headed to Dongyang, another three hour ride. Upon arriving, we could see several construction sites that exposed the underlying Cretaceous age rock. Dave made a half-joking comment about prospecting one of these sites. Whether by language barrier or Dr. Jin’s enthusiasm for prospecting, the bus’s brakes were deployed, a U-turn maneuver completed, and a single file line was headed to the site.

Danny investigates the contruction site.

A large piece of machinery was still breaking up rock, so we gave it a wide berth and clamored around the large chunks of rock in hopes of finding either eggs or dinosaur bones. We found neither, but the experience of prospecting between an industrial jack-hammer and a busy highway was well worth it.

That evening, at Dr. Jin’s urging, several members of the group enjoyed a foot massage. Perhaps a more accurate phrase would be “experienced a foot massage”. In any case, today was a day for experiences.

Dr. Varricchio talks to one of the many news crews that follows us around.

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