New study in progress: a history of exploration

23 October 2009. Edmonton, AB, Canada.

A new study on the history of early exploration in the Quanshuiliang area (our most recent site) is in preparation. The study, led by Dr. Xiaoming Wang, re-examines the fossil localities and their geology in the context of a more modern framework.

The earliest explorations in the Quanshuiliang area was conducted by Swedish geologist Birger Bohlin; he was known as an all-around field scientist, often recording geography, geology, and paleontology of the areas he visit in greater detail than was customary for his time. Dr. Xiaoming Wang visited several archives in Sweden that hold Bohlin's original field notes, and reconstructed what Bohlin though he knew (and what we actually know today) about the locality area we call Quanshuiliang (and what Bohlin called the "General Strips").

[a 3D topological view of the Quansuiliang field area in the foreground, with the Olongbuluk mountains in the background; the new transect measured by our geologists in September 2009 is marked in red. Photo view is looking west]

Then, with the input of the Qaidam Basin expedition team members, we incorporated the geological and paleontological data gained from fieldwork in the region during the past decade to get a more current summary of our understanding of the area. One conclusion is that this is a very important area to explore a possible First Appearance Datum (FAD) of the three-toed horse Hipparion in east Asia (these horses immigrated to the Old World somewhere around 11.1 million years ago; we have some specimens right here in southern California that are very closely related to those first immigrants).

Please look forward to the findings in a future issue of the IVPP journal Vertebrate PalAsiatica!