News of the WeekPaleontology

Excavation Yields Tantalizing Hints of Earliest Marine Reptiles

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Science  26 Nov 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6008, pp. 1164-1165
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6008.1164-b

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The origins of marine reptiles are an enigma. Answers may be entombed at Majiashan quarry, north of Chaohu City in central China's Anhui Province, in a 150-meter-thick outcropping dappled with shades of gray that spans 6 million years of geologic history. In September, paleontologists launched the first systematic excavation at Majiashan. The dig's first fruits—including an ancestor of the plesiosaurs—are already generating a buzz.