Paleontological Museum of Liaoning

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April 14th 2014
Published: April 15th 2014
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view of the museum from the outside

♦Paleontological Museum of Liaoning♦

This museum is on the campus of the Shenyang Normal University which happens to be close by to where I live. The first time I went to view this museum I was late, found out from a security guard yelling at me as I walked up the stairs that the museum closes at 2 pm on Sundays and to come by during the week. The unfortunate thing is that by the time I get back from work during the week it’s already too late to view it so it will have to wait until the following weekend to have a full view of it. The reason I went at 3 was that I took a nap around eleven thirty and didn’t wake up until 3 that afternoon, I guess I needed the rest and it was my body’s way of telling me this.

But from the outside it does look like a nice place, I could have walked around the campus grounds but I didn’t really feel in the mood at that time to walk around. That and my phone was running low on power and needed to charge it. More
view from outside 2view from outside 2view from outside 2

a view of the museum from the outside
and likely this coming time off I should be able to check the place out because apparently its tomb sweeping day this month. So even if the museum is closed I would still have the chance to look around the Campus of the University. Finally I was able to visit the museum on April 9, 2014. As I made my way up the front steps I was really unsure what to expect. Well in some ways I was I know I was going to see something about dinosaurs and how it was related to Shenyang and Liaoning province in particular. That was about all I expected. I stepped inside and went to the information desk and it was there that they asked for my passport, for my response was to inform them that it was getting a visa and why did they want to see it. They responded it was for records so they can say about the international tourists that came to the museum.

This museum delves into earths past and the past of Shenyang and Liaoning province.

Brief introduction of the museum: Paleontological Museum or Liaoning (PMOL), a co-established project between the Department of Land and Resources and the Shenyang Normal University (SNU), it is the largest known paleontological museum in China and has been awarded numerous awards. The museum is located on the grounds of the Shenyang Normal University campus at the campus’ north main gate facing North Huanghe Street in Shenyang. The address is 253 North Huanghe Street, Shenyang Liaoning province. 110034 China. Website: Telephone: (86) 024-85693017. Suggestions if you are going to phone make sure you know someone that speaks the language. If you’re going there by bus you can take any number of bus’s like: 236, 255, 141,326,178 and get off at the Shenyang Normal University stop. If you’re going via the metro system (the subway) its on line 2 the Shi fen Da Xue subway stop. Its total land and building area covers 19000m2 and 15000m2 respectively.

The museum consists of 16 zones in 8 exhibition halls, the museum takes the evolution of lives as its main exhibition line, highlighting the 10 Paleobiotas from Liaoning through 3 billion years, characterizes Jehol Biota, Yan-Liao Biota, Early life in Liaoning, Paleohuman and Quaternary Mammal Fossils of Liaoning and many more as the emphases. They also have a wide variety of rare fossil collections that include the oldest known feathered dinosaur Anchiormis huxleyi, so far the earliest mammal with hair, the oldest known gliding lizard, and the oldest gliding lizard and the oldest known flower among other fascinating things.

The museum also provides interactive programs that it provides to its visitors, in which several of these programs are geared towards the younger visitors (ex. The children, to make learning about the earths past much more interesting and engaging.)

So anyways, I am inside and walking around. The first thing I am introduced to was the different stages of the Earth through the ages more specially the geological history of Liaoning province. On one side of the hall was this on the other was a mural of dinosaurs roaming the plains of what I would assume would be Liaoning province millions of years ago. I get to the end of the hall and in one corner was a replica of the building I was now in along with an introduction sign for the museum written in both Chinese and English. Beside this was another replica of Liaoning province what it would have looked millions of years ago if it was in its modern shape. As I moved on around the bend in the museum I came to an opening, this area had things on both sides to view. On my left was a side written in Chinese with very few English words on it. Well, to be honest the only words I was able to understand were ‘Paleontology’ and ‘Archaeology’ which led me to believe that this particular sign was a brief explanation of both these terms. The sign beside it bore the English inscription ‘ Hongshan Culture’ for which I surmised was another explanation of the culture that dominated this area of China between 8000-4500B.C In the centre of this small area was a rock well a very big rock or small bolder from what I assume was named Stomatolites which was found in 1908 by one Ernst Kalkwosky, along with I assume was a femur of a large animal probably a dinosaur. Not sure who found this.

Before turning the next bend was three cylinder tubes and a sign before them that read ‘Fossil Stars of Liaoning’ in of course both English and Chinese. The first being Anchiornis huxleyi the earliest known feathered dinosaur about 165 million years
the first hallthe first hallthe first hall

Geological History of Liaoning province.
old 10 million years older than the one found in Germany. From what the sign said that was above the exhibit this particular bird gave direct evidence that birds came from the dinosaurs. The following ones were other important discoveries found in this region. Including the earliest known flower.

As I continued I came across a poster of sorts that showed Chinese Paleontologists making contributions to Liaoning between 1980s-2000s as well as 1920s to the 1960s. Before moving on to the next area of the museum I was greeted by an upper leg bone of an Herbivore. (For those who don’t know an Herbivore doesn’t eat any meat only leaves and grass.)

As I entered Hall 2 Earth and Early Life, I couldn’t help but think how interesting this place was. Immediately, there was an area shown on a screen of ‘The Vast Universe’ kind of makes you think on how small our planet really is in comparison with the whole universe. One part of this hall explains different heavenly bodies like Meteorites, and Meteors. One on of these signs it states that recently (assuming within the past decade or so) that a meteorite crate was found in Xiuyan of Liaoning measuring roughly 1.8km in diameter. Through isotopic dating places the crater formation at about 50,000 years ago. Another one spoke about the ‘Meteor Rain’ in Jilin on March 8th, 1976. The biggest meteorite that landed weighed more than 1770kg. One of these meteorites created a crater 6.5 meters deep and 2 meters wide.

As I moved on in Hall 2 it showed a sign of ‘Stromatolites- the most direct record of early life on Earth.’ And ‘Ediacara Biota’ now this particular one was apparently found in Mid-South Australia. This dated back to about 580 million years. Of this I assume it’s a type of fern there are two types of this found in China that sprang forth from this original one found in Australia.

Further on it briefly spoke about theory of the origin of the universe, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ not to be confused with the popular television show. As well as the ‘Nebula Hypothesis’ proposed by I. Krant in the 18th Century, to explain the origin of our Solar System. This went on to explain the origin of our own planet. As I proceeded on through this area, I was greeted by other interesting things which I hope the pictures would help to show you.

Continuing my journey through the halls of the museum, seeing signs that explained what ‘Fossils’ were and how they were formed. I came to a map of Liaoning province in a cross section showing the rock formation of the different geological eras. Which was a brief introduction to the Geo-history of Liaoning. Then I came to the ‘Top 10 Paleontological Biotas of Liaoning’ I found this rather interesting. Liaoning has a paleontological history of over 3 billion years since the Archaen era. The evolutionary history of Liaoning biotas has been an epitome of global evolution of organisms in East Asia.

I finally came to Hall 3-A on my journey of the museum and the first thing I see was another sign that showed the distribution of fossils throughout Liaoning province. (DSC_0704 add some further notes on the photo.) Just beyond that sign was ‘Early life of Archean Anshan Group’ The Anshan group is one of the oldest geological records of China dating back to over 3.8 Billion years. The ancient fossil bacteria and cyanophytas, which were discovered here in metamorphic rock, are the most ancient organismic records in China. Then it went on to talk about the Nanfen Iron ore deposit in Benxi. (ask Julie where Benxi is as in how far from Shenyang.) It also showed the Open Cut Iron ore in Nanfen, Benxi.

After this the museum showed the different stages of the Palaeozoic era. 1) Cambrian 542-488 million years ago. During this part of the era Liaoning was covered by a shallow sea. Many different fossils were found in Liaoning to confirm that thought. 2) Ordovician 488-433 million years ago. Liaoning still covered by a shallow sea, with thick limestone deposits that remained here to the present. During this particular time frame Marine life started to survive. Many marine fossils were found from this time frame in Liaoning to support this thought.

After this they decided to show the people of the museum about a cave 35km east of Benxi city. What is so special about this cave you ask? Well, aside from being formed between 450-500 millions ago and has rich deposits of Limestone sediments. It is also the longest water-filled cave in the world. They went on to show us pictures from the cave and certain rocks from the cave. Then they went on to explain the Benxi Formation along with the Niumaoling section. They also showed what most of Liaoning looked like during the late Carboniferous period. Like the other two periods mentioned it was mostly underwater or marsh land. Another poster showed Marine and non marine deposits throughout Liaoning during the same period. It wasn’t until the early Permian era that most if not all of Liaoning was pushed up and became land.

The next section I went into was the Numaoling section of Benxi. It wasn’t very interesting. The next hall was Hall 3B Fossils of Liaoning through the ages. As I went through this particular hall I was in awe of what I had seen so far with this museum. This museum was thus far well organized and thought out as a way of educational information no matter the age. On the right side of the hall was the different stages of the earth through the ages and on the left was what people thought or figured what the earth looked like during the Lower Triassic period of Earth’s history. The fifth part was the Late Triassic Yangcaogou Biota. The Yangcaogou Biota was around in Western Liaoning about 210 million years ago. This particular Biota is a type of flora was said to indicate that the area of Liaoning and of Yangcaogou village of Beipiao in Western Liaoning was extremely warm and tropical as generally thought that this period was. It was said that most of Liaoning was either in a shallow water or marshland/wetland. Prehistoric birds flying in the sky and Ancient Gigantic lizards walking the land part of me wished that I and a TARDIS to go and see it. Yes my dear readers I made a Doctor Who reference.

At one point I came across when they spoke about amber fossils. Amber Fossils you say. Yes I say Amber Fossils. Just like Jurassic Park. But is Amber Fossils? Well that is simple. Amber is fossilized tree resin, this tree resin seeps out of trees usually conifer trees wrapping insects in its resin. Then these insects that were wrapped in the tree resin are then buried in sediment (buried in the dirty for the eons.) As I moved on I saw a sign that spoke about the Fushun Biota. After which I was smaller dinosaurs although statues.

After which I was greeted by Ancient humans in Liaoning and associated Quaternary mammals. Where I learned that Liaoning province is within the reaches of the Lao River. Thus giving the prehistoric humans a suitable environmental conditions for development and evolution for these our ancestors. One of the earliest known humans in Asia was found in Benxi. The ‘Maohoushan Man’ of Homo erectus this man lived between 450,000 and 500,000 years ago. And between 100,000 and 10,000 years ago Homo sapiens had been living in most of Northeast China, Siberia and what is now Russia. Their remains were found in the area along being found in Siberia and in North America. It is believed that the people here had moved from Asia to North America on what is called the Bering Land Bring that once connected North America and Asia during the last ice age. Some of those remains that were found here in Liaoning province are also on display at this museum along with some animal remains.

They also spoke about the discovery of ‘Maohoushan Mans’ discovery in a quarry of Shanchengxi in eastern Benxi. They did some testing on the remains to find that this unfortunate soul lived anywhere between 450,000 and 500,000 years ago. Placing him squarely in the Late Pleistocene era as well making it one of the earliest known humans discoveries on record. In this quarry there were also animal remains along with bone tools man-made stone and traces of fire. I started to wonder what life would have been like back then. Without all the comforts of today living life back than would have been definitely a struggle just to survive from day to day.

As I proceeded through I also learned of other human remain discoveries throughout Liaoning province. The sites are still preserved in order to learn more about how our distant ancestors lived and moved. Of course the weather was probably a lot warmer than it is today. The next exhibit I came to was not of Maohoushan man but probably one of his descendants Jinniushan Man along with other small artifacts’ such as a needle and thread (not thread like we have today but probably sinew.) Jinniushan man was discovered in 1984 in another part of Liaoning province. Along with Gezidong Ancient Human Site the age of this cave goes back between 50 and 70,000 years. Then comes Xiaogushan Cave that is about 50,000 years old. Along with the sign jewelry was also on display. Then comes the really interesting part they showed the bones that they had found from Jinniushan man. At the end of this particular exhibit they showed a reconstruction of what Jinniushan Man would have looked like. They also showed fragments of other bones of the body. From the skull the lower jaw along with fragments of other bones from different parts of the body. The sign that came next was interested where it spoke about the origins of the human species. It also states the early finds of our ancestors here in China. I suggest my readers look into Yuanmo Man which of course was discovered here in China, he was dated back to about 1.7 million years ago. Damn that’s old.

I know, I know I am long winded on this entry but I wanted to not just be entertaining but also informative on at least some of my entries.

After this we were shown some animal remains, mostly horns or jaw bones and parts of skulls of different animals that lived around the same time frame as some of our early ancestors.

Further on we were shown the remains of an ancient ancestor of the modern day oxen and standing beside it low and behold the skeletal remains of the Wooly Mammoth. Behind both these creatures was another mural of both these animals and our ancestors fighting the wooly mammoths. As I turned to move I realized I came face to face with one of the biggest dinosaurs of all time. To be honest I forget its name but based on the skeletal remains I assume our readers would know it by site.

After that I moved on to see more fossils of other dinosaurs or prehistoric creatures. Liaoning can proudly boast about its contributions to dinosaur finds. To date 30 different species of dinosaurs have been reported from the Liaoning. As I continued to move through the museum every now and again I would come across a mural depicting life thousands or millions of years ago. Along with more and more fossils this time most of them were still in the stone that they were found in. As I rounded a bend I came across what appeared to be a dinosaur family tree stretching over the ages.

Along with the regular land dinosaurs and prehistoric fauna that were found in Liaoning we cannot leave out of feathered friends from this now can we? Between 133 and 120 million years ago the ecosystem of this province had left an abundance of bird fossils which helped uncover the mysteries and early evolution of birds. Another poster I came across showed a bird family tree and it showed how the birds were or should I say are related to dinosaurs even remotely. I was coming closer and closer to the end of my trip through history. I was a little surprised at what this museum had to offer. I didn’t expect this museum to be so … well interesting and fascinating. Until next time my wonderful readers I hope to not just to entertain you with my travels but also inform.

Also on a personal note to my family, yes I am still alive and kicking. I am well thank you for asking and worrying about me. I also apologize for not sending more emails back like I should.

Additional photos below
Photos: 311, Displayed: 34


20th March 2018

Many thanks!
Ive been reading up on the dinosaur/bird fossil finds in Chaoyang and came across your posting. So off I went to Shenyang from Changchun to see this museum. I dont think tripadvisor even knows about PMOL! Now I want to see the site museums in Chaoyang, Yi County and Beipiaonan next (though they are a little bit off the beaten track...). Thanks for this great tip entry!
2nd August 2018

to May
Thank you for posting. honestly i am not sure they know about it. but i will be checking soon and if not i will make an entry on it. Sorry for the late response.

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