24 Nov, 2023
17 : 00
The Yew Chung Yew Wah Education Network (YCYW) is committed to fulfilling its mission of aligning with “Science and Technology”. On 21 November 2023, we organised a lecture, " Finding Chinese Dinosaurs in the Wilderness", at the Yew Chung International School (Secondary) auditorium in Hong Kong. Dr Wang Yuan, a researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the curator of the Paleozoological Museum of China, was the guest speaker. More than 300 students and teachers from YCYW participated online and offline to learn about research on ancient Chinese animals.
Dr Wang primarily does research on ancient amphibians and reptiles and the popularisation of paleontology. His research focuses on fossil lower tetrapods, including fossil amphibians and small reptiles. Since 2004, he has served as the curator of the Paleozoological Museum of China. He has also served as an editor for several academic journals, such as Vertebrata PalAsiatica, Acta Palaeontologica Sinica, and popular science journals like Fossils and Dinosaur. He has published a book, Listening to the Stories of Fossils.
Dr Wang discussed familiar dinosaur movies in the prologue to his presentation, and then introduced the world of Chinese dinosaur fossils and described his journey searching for dinosaurs. Little did we know that in the early Jurassic period 190 million years ago, the Lulu (Lufengosaurus) roamed Lufeng County, Yunnan Province in China. In addition, China is the country with the most dinosaur species; Chinese scientists have researched and named 341 species of dinosaurs. Moreover, the number continues to grow; eight or nine new species are discovered each year.
During his lecture, Dr Wang introduced the "Five Treasures" of Chinese dinosaurs: River (Monolophosaurus), Liao (Microraptor), Tsing (Tsintaosauru), Sisi (Mamenchisaurus), and Lulu (Lufengosaurus). He explained their characteristics, behaviours, and the periods in which they lived. In addition, he shared insights about his dinosaur exploration journeys, such as the methods for finding fossil-bearing strata and the archaeological tools and equipment required for fieldwork in search of dinosaurs.
The response to the Q&A session was enthusiastic. One student asked about the environments for fossil excavation, Dr Wang explained that different environments have varying effects on fossil preservation. Some fossils are embedded in rocks, and others are preserved in unique environments, such as the fossils of sabre-toothed tigers in the tar pits of Los Angeles.
Another student asked why he had become a paleontologist. Dr Wang emphasised that interest plays a crucial role in pursuing any field of study. He explained that he had been fascinated with biology since his childhood when he would squat on the ground and watch ants fight. In high school, he was inspired by a field trip led by his geography teacher to study fossils in a mountainous area. This trip aroused his interest in the evolution of life and nurtured his spirit for exploration. He decided to study paleontology at the university and became a student in the Department of Geology and Paleontology at Peking University. Dr Wang hopes that his lecture can increase students' interest in dinosaurs and paleontology, inspiring them to pursue research in this field in the future. He was delighted by the student's interest in paleontology and was impressed by their questions.
The "Science and Innovation Lectures " invite scientists and professors from various fields to give lectures at YCYW schools, making scientific theories and research more accessible. Students can engage in direct conversations with experts and continuously explore scientific and technological innovation and knowledge. This fulfils YCYW’s mission to align with “Science and Technology”.