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Jurassic dinosaur research, MongoliaJurassic

Michael Pittman, a palaeontologist at University College London, is heading to south-western Mongolia to search for traces of Late Jurassic dinosaurs. He is seeking to investigate the Shar Teg and Dariv fossil beds, remote sites located in the Gobi Desert and flanked by the Altai Mountains. Dariv, discovered in 1968 by Soviet sendimentologists, has yielded fossils of both sauropods and carnivorous dinosaurs; Shar Teg, discovered in 1984, has produced fossils of plants, insects, turtles, basal mammals, crocodiles and dinosaurs.

The project will help elucidate the origins of dinosaurian groups (which are currently poorly known) and reconstruct a unique Jurassic ecosystem which will be useful for comparisons with other ecosystems in Central Asia. The work may also lead to new hypotheses regarding the early evolution of early dinosaur groups.

The JWCT has contributed 1,000 to the expedition via the Geological Society of London, a partner organisation. The Geological Society of London is the UK national society for geoscience, and the oldest geological society in the world.

Michael, based in Maida Vale, London, said “thank you . . . to the JWCT for sponsoring my dinosaur field expedition to Mongolia . . . My team believe we can find many new species of Jurassic dinosaur and your sponsorship will ensure that we can spend an even longer time there searching and excavating.”

Michael added “I can't wait until the expedition starts, and I really look forward to updating the [JWCT] with our discoveries!''

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