1. Complete skeletons of various kinds of dinosaurs and other kinds
2. One of the world’s biggest collections of dinosaur fossils.
3. About three hours from Chongqing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1. Learn about dinosaurs.
3. Gain an appreciation of how dinosaurs are discovered and
excavated at the site.
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.
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.