Fossilized Cones And Bones Of Mosasaurs Found By Participants Of Paleontological Camp In Southern Urals

Участники на раскопках. Фото: Михаил Денисов
Участники на раскопках. Фото: Михаил Денисов

In the Orenburg Region, the participants of the youth paleontological science camp "Cretaceous Park in the Southern Urals" found fossils of the Cretaceous period. The organizer of the camp is the Youth Club of the RGS "Orenburg Region".

The work was conducted under the guidance of the teachers from the G. A. Sopotsko Club of Young Geologists of Orsk Olga Chumanova and Anatoly Nikiforov. Three paleontologists were also present: Nikolay Zverkov, junior researcher at the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences(Moscow); Dmitry Grigoriev, Associate Professor at the Department of Vertebrate Zoology of St. Petersburg State University; and Igor Meleshin, researcher at the I. D. Voronin United Museum of Local History, Republic of Mordovia.


Древние шишки.  Фото: Ольга Чуманова
Древние шишки. Фото: Ольга Чуманова

“This season turned out to be difficult, and weather conditions affected the progress of work,” paleontologist Nikolay Zverkov commented on the work of the camp. “Not all of the planned work was completed. No skeletons were unearthed this year, but interesting individual bones from plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, sea turtles, and even small fragments of pterosaur bones were found. Unexpected and pleasant surprises were the findings of invertebrates (ammonites, crustaceans, and sponges) and plants, especially the cones of gymnosperms – specialized specialists will study them. These findings will shed new light on the fauna and flora of the Southern Urals in the Late Cretaceous.”

Also among the finds are fossilized cones and ancient crabs. Such finds were made in the Orenburg Region for the first time.


Окаменелости крабов. Фото: Ольга Расторгуева
Окаменелости крабов. Фото: Ольга Расторгуева

Daria Dorofeiskaya, a participant from St. Petersburg, shared her first experience of field practice.

“We found shark teeth, polycotylid vertebrae, elasmosaurs, mosasaurs, fossilized wood, glued ‘bone puzzles’", shared the girl. “When the rains came, we were walking around the stockpiles in search of everything that the water washed out: starting from teeth that could have been thrown away with a handful of earth without noticing, ending with fragments of vertebrae that someone accidentally threw away. This was my first experience of real excavations. An indescribable feeling when you first take out a vertebra from glauconite, which is about 80 million years old.”


Найдены многочисленные зубы акул. Фото: Михаил Денисов
Найдены многочисленные зубы акул. Фото: Михаил Денисов

This year, the camp was attended by foreign participants who came under the Rossotrudnichestvo’s "New Generation" program from Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Moldova, Transnistria, Serbia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as inclusive volunteers.

“We were a little unlucky in terms of weather conditions, but it didn't stop us from working,” Dmitry Mortin from Transnistria shared his impressions. “During the excavations, various kinds of remains, shark teeth, and mosasaur vertebrae were found. We listened to wonderful lectures from paleontologists. Everyone was satisfied. There were a lot of people from other countries, we talked, became friends, and hope that we will meet again at such events.”