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Zigong Dinosaur Museum

Features

1. Complete skeletons of various kinds of dinosaurs and other kinds of animals. 
2. One of the world’s biggest collections of dinosaur fossils.
3. About three hours from Chongqing.

Overview

As a change from looking at cute, fuzzy pandas at the Chongqing Zoo, you can see the skulls and claws at the Zigong Dinosaur Museum about 180 kilometers (112 miles) west of Chongqing. Something about dinosaurs excites people, especially kids. The museum has fossils of big dinosaurs, and has among the world’s biggest dinosaur fossil collections. The Zigong Dinosaur Museum is world-class, and it mainly contains dinosaur fossils from the site. The museum is at the Dashanpu site some 11 kilometers (7 miles) north of the city of Zigong. Complete fossils of dinosaurs were found at the Dashanpu site in the 1980s. The museum opened in 1987. Many unusually well-preserved dinosaur fossils were discovered. Skeletons of dinosaurs and other vertebrates are displayed in a 3, 600 square meter (about 39,000 square feet) exhibition hall.

Detailed Description

The museum has among the biggest dinosaur fossil collections of any museum in the world. There are three floors. The first floor has stegosaur, sauropod and ornithopod skeletons. The second floor has a 3D movie theater and vertebrate, invertebrate and plant fossils. The museum has three sections. The first one instructs on general knowledge about fossils, botanical evolution, geologic periods, the evolution of dinosaurs, and species extinctions.

The second section introduces the dinosaurs from Dashanpu. In the large space, viewers can see dinosaurs that stand ten meters high or are 20 meters long or are small. Section three has the actual site of dinosaurs covered over in a large exhibition area of 1,000 square meters. You can see dinosaur bones in their original setting, actually go in and touch the fossils and the fossil matrix, and see up close how the bones look in-situ.

You might not think that the fossils are so cuddly, but you might find them interesting. 

Location

 180 kilometers (112 miles) west of Chongqing. The museum is at the Dashanpu site some 11 kilometers (7 miles) north of the city of Zigong in Sichuan Province. Zigong is further from Chengdu than from Chongqing. But you can find buses leaving from either city.

History

The area around the city of Zigong has many sites where dinosaur fossils and other kinds of fossils have been found. The Dashanpu site was discovered in 1972 when a Chinese gas company unearthed a dinosaur that was called Gasosaurus.

A Chinese paleontologist named Dong Zhiming helped to excavate the area. He first examined the formation in 1975. He found numerous bone fragments in the construction area. The site was being demolished to make way for a natural gas facility. Many specimens were damaged. In 1985, the Chinese government stopped construction at the site.

By then, Ziming and his team had taken out over 100 skeletons or parts of skeletons. Among the bones found are thirty complete or relatively complete dinosaur skeletons and several rare sauropod skulls. In addition to dinosaur finds, many other prehistoric kinds of animal bones have been uncovered from the Dashanpu Formation.

Among these discoveries are bones of kinds of fish, amphibians, turtles, pterosaurs, and reptiles such as crocodiles.

In 1987, the Zigong Dinosaur Museum was established. Mounted specimens include Omeisaurus, Gigantospinosaurus, Yangchuanosaurus, Huayangosaurus and Xiaosaurus.

Touring Activities

1. Learn about dinosaurs.
2. Photography.
3. Gain an appreciation of how dinosaurs are discovered and excavated at the site.

Traveling Information

An exciting day trip might be to visit the Dazu Rock Carvings an hour west of the city of Chongqing, and then travel another hour and a half west to visit the Zigong Dinosaur Museum in Zigong. Zigong is a big city in Sichuan, and there are plenty of hotels if you want to stay overnight. 

Nearby Attractions

About an hour east towards the city of Chongqing is Chongqing’s most famous historical site near the town of Dazu. The Dazu Rock Carvingssites have ancient rock carvings and religious art from about 1,000 years ago or later.

There is a bronze-age archaeological site called Sanxingdu that is about 40 kilometers northeast of Chengdu in Sichuan Province. Chengdu is the provincial capital. You can see even more ancient art and religious artifacts and learn about the history of civilization is western China in the Sanxingdui Museum. Chinese archeologists discovered this civilization’s remains in 1986. The technical quality and state of preservation of the bronze artifacts and religious artwork are considered among the best that have been discovered in the world from that period of time.

Tips & articles

2011-05-23
The Dinosaur Museum together with the American National Dinosaur Park and the Canadian Dinosaur Park are the world's three largest dinosaur museums. The Chinese site lies near Da Shanpu County in the east north suburbs of Zigong City of Sichuan Province. It is ...Read More
2011-05-23
It is the first modern specialized dinosaur museum in China to be set up on the "Da Shanpu dinosaur fossils group site", which is called the "Dinosaur Cemetery". At present, it is the largest and the only dinosaur museum in Asia located at an actual fossil ...Read More