Sunday, January 3, 2010

Canada, China sign pact on dinosaur study.(Science).

Holiday 2008

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BREAKTHROUGH scientific agreement that will allow Canadian scientists to be the first westerners in more than a half century to explore rich dinosaur fossil beds in western China was signed here late last week.

Canada won the right to explore the beds in Xinjiang in the far northwest corner of China and in Inner Mongolia against competition from France, the United States and Great Britain, each of which had been anxious to have the honor of being the first on the spot.

Under the terms of the agreement, dinosaur researchers in both countries will do research in both countries. A five-member Chinese team will leave for Canada early next month to join a 25-member field research team in Alberta's Dinosaur Provincial Park.

During July, a portion of the Chinese team will join Canadian scientists in looking for dinosaur remains on Axel Hielberg island in the high Arctic, a site where Canadian scientists are confident they will make the most northerly dinosaur discovery ever.

In the summers of 1987 and 1988, Canadian scientists will come to China for exploration in Xinjiang. In the summer of 1987, 12 Canadians will join 22 Chinese researchers. The size of the 1988 teams and their program in Inner Mongolia have not been set.

Although the scientists expect the joint program will greatly expand their understanding of dinosaur evolution, biology and extinction, they are most excited about exploring links between dinosaurs in North America and Asia.

"For a long time, we thought all dinosaurs in Asia were different from all dinosaurs in North America," said Philip J. Currie, acting director of the Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller, Alta., One of four institutions involved in the project.

"We started finding Asian dinosaurs in North America and North American dinosaurs in Asia." The researchers expect to find evidence of migration between what are now two widely separated continents.

One of the reasons that Canadian researchers want the chance to explore in China is that China has a continual geologic record throughout the entire period of the age of dinosaurs, unlike Canada where there are gaps, despite the richness of the Canadian beds.

The reason for the continuity in China is that, unlike western Canada which was flooded during prehistoric times, northern China was above water.

In addition to the Tyrrell Museum, the other organizations involved in the project are: The National Museum of Natural Sciences in Ottawa, the Ex Terra Foundation in Edmonton and the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Ex Terra, a non-profit organization, hopes to raise several million dollars to finance a travelling exhibit that would incorporate the findings from the project and material from Canadian and Chinese collections.

According to Ex Terra's executive director, Brian Noble, 26 museums around the world have expressed an interest in obtaining the exhibit. The potential audience would be double that which saw the King Tut exhibit on its tour of North America, he said.

No agreement has been signed between Canada and China about the public- exhibit portion of the Canada-China Dinosaur Project, but Charles Gruchy, assistant director of the National Museum of Natural Sciences, said that one is very close.

"In a very short time of when discoveries are made, they are going to be available to the public in a way that they can very easily and readily understand them," Dr. Gruchy said. "I think that is going to be a terribly important part of the public programming activities."

Source Citation
"Canada, China sign pact on dinosaur study.(Science)." Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada] 26 May 1986: A16. Popular Magazines. Web. 3 Jan. 2010. .

Gale Document Number:A165432440

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