On route to Kunlun Mountain

30 July 2010. On the road again

After four days in Tsaidam Basin, we are packing up our bags and heading to Tibet!

We will meet the main IVPP team on route to Lhasa; they have been working in Lunpola Basin collecting fossil fish.

As I type, our vehicle is experiencing problems with the 4-wheel drive mechanism, we have a few days to spare, but hopes are the car won't require extensive repair.

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Field dispatch - more mammals!

28-29 July 2010. West of "Tuosu Lake West"

Today Juan Liu (University of Alberta) led us to a rich hillside littered with mammal fossils.

She initially found a /Hipparion/ dentary, followed by a deer skull. We then combed the area, finding deer antlers, gazelle horncores, rhino long bones, and proboscidean parts.

This new site appears to be very similar in lithology and faunal composition to the lake shore area, and now appears to be geologically younger than Quanshuiliang, based on preliminary observation.

We spent a good two days making half a dozen plaster jackets to extract those specimens.

A toast was made over dinner to the team member who made this important discovery!

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Field dispatch - new find

27 July 2010. Tuosu Nor west shore

Today was a hot day, and it would have been more unbearable if we weren't by the Tuosu Nor (latter meaning "lake" in Mongolian). We kept driving east from previous day's locality, and reached the southern twin of the Keluke-Tuosu lakes.

We discovered a new locality marked by a rich collection of fossil deer antlers and more fish bones! Furthermore, we also collected a partial bovid dentary accompanied by an equid maxilla.

The equid is most likely some kind of /Hipparion/, meaning we have a faunal connection to the Quanshuiliang fauna. However, the latter appears unique in its endemic bovids, and the new locality, without a hint of those taxa, could represent a different environment and/or a distinct geologic age altogether.

Mosquitoes (swarms of them) are still keeping us company.

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Field dispatch - Tsaidam day 1

26 July 2010. Quanshuiliang, Qinghai Province

We returned to the highly fossiliferous site to prospect. We drove east to the edge of the continuous exposure to try our luck.

We succeeded in finding a baby rhino skull, several horncores of the bovid /Qurliqnoria cheni/, and isolated fish bones.

The day was also marked by the abundance of mosquitoes, and beautiful blue sky.

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