Chinese Boy Accidentally Finds 66-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Eggs
The Beijing Youth Daily revealed that a 9-year-old primary school student from Heyuan, South China’s Guangdong province, accidentally discovered what he suspected to be a dinosaur egg fossil while playing with his mom on the downtown riverbank.
Later, the mom of the boy, Li Xiaofang, approached the local museum whose staff members went and dug even more dinosaur eggs around the site.
The 11 dinosaur egg fossils date back to 66 million years ago.
Li said later in an interview that she and her son, Zhang Yangzhe, were playing near the Dongjiang River.
“The bridge over the river has been damaged by the flood, and the soil below the abutment was exposed,” she said. This is what helped the boy to find the eggs.
“He found an eggshell on the slope (of the broken bridge) and called me immediately to tell me about his discovery, saying it seemed like a dinosaur egg,” said Li.
She added that the boy had recently visited the local dinosaur museum where he saw various shapes of dinosaur egg fossils, some complete while others are broken, which helped him recognize the dinosaur egg at a glance.
Soon after the excavation of the first one, another was also unearthed about 80 cm above the previous spot on the slope.
Knowing their archeological values, his mother Li contacted Heyuan Dinosaur Museum via the help of a friend.
The city, known as the “hometown of dinosaurs”, has discovered a large number of dinosaur eggs and bone fossils since 1996.
A dinosaur research institute named China’s Ancient Animal Museum and Dinosaur Egg Museum, also known as the Heyuan Dinosaur Museum, has been established in the city.
Huang Zhiqing, deputy director of the research department of Heyuan Dinosaur Museum, said they rushed to the scene with police after receiving the news.
A total of 11 “stone eggs” each about 9 centimeters in diameter were excavated, later verified as dinosaur eggs all dating back to the late Cretaceous age, according to the local museum.
Huang Zhiqing said houses were built at the place where the dinosaur eggs were discovered, so the soil softens as time flies. Dinosaur egg fossils which remain in good condition despite water and erosion are extremely rare.
Huang Zhiqing said the museum will organize manpower to clean and repair these dinosaur egg fossils. They will also find an appropriate time to re-examine and further excavate the abutment.
“Maybe we will discover new things,” Huang Zhiqing said.
Li said the child’s recognition of the dinosaur egg is inseparable from his education.
“Maybe because of the city’s environment, he is full of curiosity about everything related to dinosaurs,” she said, adding that he goes to libraries and museums to search for information he is curious about.
Beijing has a 20,000-acre secret underground city, Dìxià Chéng, that was built during the Cold War by 300,000 people digging by hand
It is estimated that around 1 million Beijing residents live in these cramp and often-dank subterranean spaces because they are cheaper than anything else over the ground.
The locals call them “rat tribe” or shuzu. Ironically, nearly all of them are young migrants who came to the capital city from rural areas in search of better opportunities.
Many of the residents, however, believe that underground dwelling is just a transitional phase of their life until they gain the financial means to rent a better room with windows and sunlight.
There is no official disclosure of the total size of the complex, nor exactly where all of the tunnels are located, but it is believed that they cover an area of more than 20,000 acres and connect all of the city’s major governmental buildings. There may have once been as many as 900 entrances.
In Chinese, the underground city is known as Dìxià Chéng, meaning dungeon. It was created as a city-sized refuge from nuclear attack by ordinary people digging by hand, many of them equipped only with shovels and carrying everything in bamboo baskets. Work began in 1969 and the secret city continued to be expanded through to 1979.
The tension between China and Russia during the Cold War came to a head in 1969 with the Sino-Soviet border conflict, an undeclared military skirmish that tested the will of both countries. The relationship between the two countries continued in a delicate balance right up until 1991. China was on high alert to the real possibility of full-scale war.
The response of Chairman Mao Zedong, President of the People’s Republic of China, was to instruct his citizens “Shenwadong, chengjiliang, buchengba” which pretty much translates as “dig deep tunnels, store food and prepare for war.”
In Beijing, around 300,000 civilians quite literally dug in and carried out Chairman Mao’s ominous wishes. The Beijingers, under the guidance of army engineers, created a huge, complex underground network.
The various tunnel systems linked up around 10,000 atomic bunkers, plus restaurants, theaters, warehouses, factories, a mushroom farm, sports facilities, everything a community might need to survive a nuclear war. Even the ventilation system could be isolated from the outside air.
According to some accounts, the Chinese government boasted at the time that the underground complex was large enough to accommodate the entire population of central Beijing, around 6 million people in 1969.
Of course, Dìxià Chéng was never needed for its intended purpose. In the 1980s, several sections were handed over to neighborhood authorities, who turned these bunkers into offices and shops. However, most of Beijing’s underground world is privately owned and there are still quite a few entrances from the basements of ordinary shops and apartment blocks.
Taking advantage of the increasing number of people migrating from rural areas to find work in an already crowded Beijing, the owners of sections of tunnel system turned their bunkers into tiny residential units, offering them at around a third of the city’s skyrocketing rental prices.
Known as the Rat Tribe, some of the residents have lived here for decades, while for others, life underground is a temporary stop-gap until they can afford to move into an apartment above ground. Conditions are cramped and damp.
In 2010, because of worries about safety hazards that were not fixed by notoriously neglectful landlords, Beijing authorities ruled that nuclear shelters and subterranean storage areas could no longer be used for residential purposes. However, the residents have nowhere else to go, and they were allowed to remain, but with an uncertain future.
In 2016, possibly due to increasing media exposure of the life underneath Beijing, the first group of tunnel dwellers was evicted–with no advance warning. Other residents are no doubt wondering when evacuation plans will be rolled out to include their district.
But one man has turned what is a life-changing upheaval for the Rat Tribe into an opportunity to improve his community. Zhou Zishu, in collaboration with designers, artists, local citizens, and private companies, has brought to life an initiative to turn the recently vacated tunnels into a vibrant community center, complete with library, reading rooms, social area, cafés, kid’s play space, hair salon, and much more. There are also a number of shops and a gym.
The vibrantly renovated nuclear shelter is named Digua Shequ, which is Chinese for Sweet Potato Community, a cute philosophical reference to the way this rhizome grows strong underground, seemingly with no beginning or end. But Zishu also picked the name because it reminds him of the first thing he ate when he arrived in Beijing: steaming hot sweet potato that his friend had brought along to greet him with at the airport. It is symbolic of the big difference that small gestures can make.
Through running workshops and providing a platform for local business people to collaborate, the Digua Shequ has successfully brought together residents from both above and below ground, helping to remove the distrust between these groups. Official approval has been given for 10 similar projects to begin, a move which seems to indicate that subterranean Beijing will remain inhabited for many years to come. For now, the Rat Tribe continues to be allowed to thrive underground.
The Perfectly Preserved 2,000-yr-old Chinese Sword without a Single Trace of Rust
A completely preserved bronze sword from the fifth century BC is exhibited among the permanent collections in the Hubei Provincial Museum, situated in Hubei Province in eastern central China.
During an archeological excavation at the Zhang River Reservoir in Jingzhou in 1965, the sword was found.
Nearly 50 graves have been discovered, yielding more than 2,000 artifacts, including Goujian’s Sword.
The weapon is 22 inches long with a repeating dark-colored pattern of rhombi engraved into the blade and is inlaid with turquoise.
Embellished over the pattern are Chinese characters that, according to My Modern Met, translate to “King of Yue” and “made this sword for [his] personal use.” Most historians believe the sword belonged to Goujian, the King of the Chu State during the Zhou dynasty.
The sheath is made of lacquered wood and was found to be virtually airtight, which was probably a major factor in keeping the blade untarnished in the 2,000 years it lay in the damp environment of the king’s tomb.
The grip is bound with silk, and the pommel is designed with eleven circles. The blade is made mostly of copper and tin and is as razor-sharp as it was when the king held it in his hands.
The Epoch Times tells the story of Goujian, the owner of the sword. During the early reign of Goujian in the fifth century BC, the State of Yue was in a precarious position.
A neighboring state, Wu, had conquered the Chu Kingdom and focused its sights on Yue. Goujian had just inherited the throne, and the State was in disarray.
Helü, the King of Chu and Wu, wasted no time in attacking Goujian’s army which was led by Goujian himself. Although he was outnumbered and outgunned, Goujian succeeded in cornering Helü, and a duel was set. Goujian’s youth gave him an advantage and Helü was killed as his troops retreated.
Helü’s son, Fuchai, then became King of Wu, and he could never forgive Goujian for the death of his father. After rebuilding his army, he attacked the Yue State. Unable to work his way out of this fight, Goujian surrendered.
He, his wife, and his right-hand man, Fan Li, were enslaved by Fuchai, and one of Fuchai’s advisors, Wen Zhong, took over the ruling position of Yue. During the three years of Goujian’s captivity, Fuchai’s attitude of self-importance grew exponentially.
He was convinced he had the former King of Yue completely under his thumb and ignored his advisors when they cautioned him against overconfidence. Fuchai was so convinced of Goujian’s loyalty, he freed the former king, his wife, and Fan Li and allowed them to return home.
While once again ruling, Goujian and his wife joined the commoners working in the fields — not only to stay below Fuchai’s radar but also to better understand the plight of the peasants while Fan Li prepared the ultimate revenge.
Taxes would not be raised, and rules were set to maximize the birth rate which drew favor from the peasants. Goujian allowed Fuchai to get the upper hand on trade negotiations and freely sent his most beautiful women to be concubines of the Wu ministry.
Fan Li trained women in the art of entertainment and pleasing men. One such concubine, Xi Shi, was trained especially for Fuchai. He was so besotted with her, he forgot his royal duties and spent all of his time and money on construction projects to benefit her.
The rest of Fuchai’s cabinet were equally distracted by concubines sent by Fan Li, and Wu spiraled into ruin. A drought only made things worse. When Fuchai was forced to request grain from Goujian, he was given grain soaked in boiling water which was suitable for eating but unable to germinate if planted.
Goujian had maneuvered Fuchai into exactly the position he needed him to be, and his army soon attacked. As the losing king, Fuchai was humiliated and committed suicide.
Unfortunately, Goujian’s years of captivity had affected him negatively and he soon turned against his own advisors. As top officials were being executed, Fan Li escaped, reportedly taking Xi Shi with him.
Goujian died in about 465 BC and was succeeded by his son Luying. The Kingdom of Yue was never the same and was later conquered by the Kingdom of Chu along with the Kingdom of Wu — putting everything back in its place.
Mummified monk revealed inside 1,000-year-old Buddha statue
Scientific tests have revealed that an ancient Buddhist statue contains a 1,000-year – old mummified monk’s perfectly preserved remains in what is thought to be the only such example in the world.
The monk, who is sitting in the lotus position, is thought to have starved himself to death in an act of extreme spiritual devotion in China or Tibet in the 10th century. His preserved remains were displayed in his monastery.
Some 200 years later, perhaps after his remains started to deteriorate, his mummified body was placed inside the elaborate, lacquered statue of Buddha.
The unusual contents of the statue were discovered in the 1990s when the statue underwent restoration. Experts were unable to remove the mummy due to the risk of disintegration, so they could do little more than peer into the darkened cavity of the Buddha.
Now, an international team of German, Dutch and Italian scientists has conducted a CAT scan which revealed the monk’s skeleton in perfect detail.
“It was not uncommon for monks to practise self-mummification but to find a mummified monk inside a statue is really extraordinary,” said Wilfrid Rosendahl, a German palaeontologist who led the research.
“It’s the only known example in the world.”Using a CAT scan, we saw that there was a perfectly preserved body with skin and muscles inside the statue. It’s a complete mummy, not just a skeleton. He was aged between 30 and 50.”
The mummy has been studied by an interdisciplinary team of experts, including radio carbon dating specialists and textile analysts, at the Meander Medical Centre in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.
Using an endoscope, experts took samples from inside the mummy’s thoracic and abdominal cavities and discovered that the monk’s organs had been removed and replaced with ancient wads of paper printed with Chinese characters.
Samples of bone were also taken for DNA testing. The Buddha statue was bought several decades ago on the art market by a Dutch private collector, who had no idea that the mummy was hidden inside. It will go on display in museums around Europe, and is currently in the Natural History Museum in Budapest.” The monk died in a process of self-mummification,” said Dr. Rosendahl.
During the last weeks, he would have started eating less food and drinking only water. Eventually, he would have gone into a trance, stopped breathing and died.
He basically starved himself to death.”The other monks would have put him close to a fire to dry him out and put him on display in the monastery, we think somewhere in China or Tibet.”
He was probably sitting for 200 years in the monastery and the monks then realized that he needed a bit of support and preservation so they put him inside the statue.”Mummified monks were not only the focus of religious devotion but important for the economy of the monastery because they attracted pilgrims who would offer donations.
3000-year-old trousers discovered in Chinese grave oldest ever found
That’s right–1000 years before Christ’s birth these were worn. Archeologists say the two men whose remains have recently been excavated from tombs in western China put their pants on one leg at a time, just as the rest of us are doing today.
With straight-fitting legs and a wide crotch, the ancient wool trousers resemble modern riding pants, says a team led by archaeologists Ulrike Beck and Mayke Wagner of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin.
The discoveries, uncovered in the Yanghai graveyard in China’s Tarim Basin, support previous work suggesting that nomadic herders in Central Asia invented pants to provide bodily protection and freedom of movement for horseback journeys and mounted warfare, the scientists report May 22, 2014, in Quaternary International. So not much changes – these highly decorated pants must have been someone’s pride and joy as a great deal of work has gone into them.
The two men were around 40 years old when they died, and they were buried along with a decorated leather bridle, a decorated horsetail, a wooden horse bit, a battle-ax, whip, bow sheath, and a leather bracer for arm protection. Their trouser design comprised three pieces of wool cloth, one for each leg and one for the crotch, which was stitched together and fastened at the waist with strings. They were finished with woven designs on the legs.
Beck and Wagner described the trousers as “a ground-breaking achievement in the history of cloth making.”This new paper definitely supports the idea that trousers were invented for horse riding by mobile pastoralists, and that trousers were brought to the Tarim Basin by horse-riding peoples,” remarks linguist and China authority Victor Mair of the University of Pennsylvania.
Previously, Europeans and Asians wore gowns, robes, tunics, togas or — as observed on the 5,300-year-old body of Ötzi the Iceman — a three-piece combination of loincloth and individual leggings. A dry climate and hot summers helped preserve human corpses, clothing and other organic material in the Tarim Basin. More than 500 tombs have been excavated in a graveyard there since the early 1970s.
Earlier research on mummies from several Tarim Basin sites, led by Mair, identified a 2,600-year-old individual known as Cherchen Man who wore burgundy trousers probably made of wool. Trousers of Scythian nomads from West Asia date to roughly 2,500 years ago.
Mair suspects that horse riding began about 3,400 years ago and trouser-making came shortly thereafter in wetter regions to the north and west of the Tarim Basin. Ancient trousers from those areas are not likely to have been preserved, Mair says.
Horse riding’s origins are uncertain and could date to at least 4,000 years ago, comments archaeologist Margarita Gleba of University College London. If so, she says, “I would not be surprised if trousers appeared at least that far back.”
The two trouser-wearing men entombed at Yanghai were roughly 40 years old and had probably been warriors as well as herders, the investigators say. One man was buried with a decorated leather bridle, a wooden horse bit, a battle-ax and a leather bracer for arm protection. Among objects placed with the other body were a whip, a decorated horse tail, a bow sheath, and a bow.
Beck and Wagner’s group obtained radiocarbon ages of fibers from both men’s trousers, and of three other items in one of the tombs.
The Yanghai Tombs (also spelled Yang-Hai) are located in the desert Turpan Basin of Shanshan County, Turpan District, in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of northwest China. Yangshai lies at the base of the Fire or Flaming Mountains (Huoyan Shan) and the foothills of the Heavenly Mountains (Tian Shan), on the edge of the Turpan Oasis, that has drawn people for thousands of years. Yangshai is about 30 km southeast of the main site of Turfan or Gaochang.
The tombs are grouped into three localities: Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3. The localities are really artificial: the cemetery is one big location, measuring some 54,000 square meters (or about 600,000 square feet) in the area.
The people buried in the tombs were nomadic pastoralists of the Subeixi culture, one of many Steppe Societies who roamed the deserts and steppes of central Eurasia from Ukraine to China. The Yanghai Tombs were discovered in the early 1970s by local Turpan villagers who were repairing a karez, and the tombs were excavated through the early 21st century.
Much of the publication in English has been focused on the analysis of the hundreds of mummies and thousands of artifacts recovered from the tombs. More than 500 tombs were excavated in 2003 alone, under the direction of E.G. Lu, with support from the Xinjiang Institute of Archaeology and the Bureau of Cultural Relics of Turpan Prefecture.
The trousers were sewn together from three pieces of brown-colored wool cloth, one piece for each leg and an insert for the crotch. The tailoring involved no cutting but included side slits, strings for fastening at the waist and woven designs on the legs.