The remarkable fossils from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota of China and how they have changed our knowledge of Mesozoic life

  title={The remarkable fossils from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota of China and how they have changed our knowledge of Mesozoic life},
  author={Michael J. Benton and Zhou Zhonghe and Patrick J. Orr and Zhang Fucheng and Stuart L. Kearns},

A comparison of Barremian–early Aptian vertebrate assemblages from the Jehol Group, north-east China and the Wealden Group, southern Britain: the value of microvertebrate studies in adverse preservational settings

  • S. Sweetman
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments
  • 2015
Vertebrates are a highly significant component of the Jehol Biota of northern Hebei, western Liaoning, and southeastern Inner Mongolia. Furthermore, Jehol vertebrate fossils from these areas are

Diverse transitional giant fleas from the Mesozoic era of China

Giant forms from the Middle Jurassic and Early Cretaceous periods of China exhibit many defining features of fleas but retain primitive traits such as non-jumping hindlegs, implying that these fleas may be rooted among the pollinating ‘long siphonate’ scorpionflies of the Mesozoic.

Plant remains from the Middle–Late Jurassic Daohugou site of the Yanliao Biota in Inner Mongolia, China

Abstract A late Middle–early Late Jurassic fossil plant assemblage recently excavated from two Callovian–Oxfordian sites in the vicinity of the Daohugou fossil locality in eastern Inner Mongolia,

The Chinese Pompeii? Death and destruction of dinosaurs in the Early Cretaceous of Lujiatun, NE China

Fossilized melanosomes and the colour of Cretaceous dinosaurs and birds

It is reported that melanosomes (colour-bearing organelles) are not only preserved in the pennaceous feathers of early birds, but also in an identical manner in integumentary filaments of non-avian dinosaurs, thus refuting recent claims that the filaments are partially decayed dermal collagen fibres.

The oldest record of ornithuromorpha from the early cretaceous of China

F fossils from the oldest known ornithuromorph bird, recovered from the Huajiying Formation in China, are reported, which pushes the divergence of these and other early bird lineages back to the Jurassic–Cretaceous transition.



Cretaceous age for the feathered dinosaurs of Liaoning, China

The results of this dating study indicate that the lower Yixian fossil horizons are not Jurassic but rather are at least 20 Myr younger, placing them within middle Early Cretaceous time.

A lamprey from the Cretaceous Jehol biota of China

A freshwater lamprey from the Early Cretaceous epoch (about 125 million years ago) of Inner Mongolia, China is reported, indicating Mesomyzon's closer relationship to extant lampreys but also revealing the group's invasion into a freshwater environment no later than the EarlyCretaceous.

Pterosaur diversity and faunal turnover in Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems in China

Two new pterosaurs that are referred to European groups previously unknown in deposits of northeastern China are reported, showing a wide range of groups including both primitive and derived forms that are not matched by any other deposit in the world.

Non‐avian dinosaur fossils from the Lower Cretaceous Jehol Group of western Liaoning, China

The discovery of four-winged dinosaurs was suggested to provide strong evidence supporting the ‘tree-down’ hypothesis for the origin of avian flight, though in-depth analysis and more data are needed to confirm this.

A juvenile lizard specimen with well-preserved skin impressions from the Upper Jurassic/Lower Cretaceous of Daohugou, Inner Mongolia, China

The new specimen is notable in preserving exquisite skin impressions showing the variation in scalation across the body, the shape and position of the cloacal outlet, and details of the manus and pes, which are the earliest recorded lepidosaurian skin traces.

Evolutionary radiation of the Jehol Biota: chronological and ecological perspectives

The Jehol Biota, preserved in the lacustrine sediments of Liaoning Province, northeast China, has provided a new window for understanding Early Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems. Based on recent

Pterosaur assemblages of the Jehol Biota and their implication for the Early Cretaceous pterosaur radiation

The Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota from northeast China is well known for many beautifully preserved feathered dinosaurs, early birds and angiosperms. A great number of pterosaurs have also been

A new symmetrodont mammal from China and its implications for mammalian evolution

This analysis suggests that this new taxon represents a part of the early therian radiation before the divergence of living marsupials and placentals; that therians and multituberculates are more closely related to each other than either group is to other mammalian lineages.


A wealth of recent discoveries combined with new phylogenetic analyses have documented the divergence of a number of lineages by the beginning of the Cretaceous, providing insights into the evolutionary development of feathers and other important features of the avian flight system.

An exceptionally preserved Lower Cretaceous ecosystem

Findings include feathered theropod dinosaurs and early birds, which provide additional, indisputable support for the dinosaurian ancestry of birds, and much new evidence on the evolution of feathers and flight.