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Lufengosaur from Yunnan makes Hong Kong Science Museum home

The Government of Yunnan Province in June donated the Lufengosaur fossil found in Lufeng, Yunnan Province in June 2007 to mark the first major cultural exchange activity under an “Agreement on Closer Cultural Partnership Arrangement” signed in April between the Home Affairs Bureau and the People’s Government of Yunnan Province.

This 180 million-year-old Lufengosaur fossil is now on display in the lobby of the Hong Kong Science Museum for free viewing from October 24 to April 29, 2009. The fossil will then be relocated to the Life Sciences Hall of the museum for permanent display.

The “Treasure from Chuxiong – Lufengosaur” exhibition and “Colourful Yunnan – Enchanting Chuxiong Prefecture in Hong Kong” activities was officially opened October 23 by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Mr Donald Tsang. Other officiating guests were the Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR, Mr Li Gang, the Vice-Governor of the People’s Government of Yunnan Province, Mr Liu Ping, the Secretary of the CPC Yunnan Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefectural Committee, Mr Deng Xianpei, the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, and the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Thomas Chow.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Tsang said: “Lufengosaurus are among the oldest dinosaurs found.  They are the first species of dinosaurs excavated, conserved, studied and mounted in China, thus giving them particular importance in both scientific and historical aspects.  It is noteworthy that after the careful selection by the Yunnan Government the Lufengosaurus fossil donated to us is the best conserved.  This is also the first time that a Lufengosaurus fossil has been given as a gift to a jurisdiction outside the Mainland. For all these, we are extremely grateful for Yunnan Province’s kindness and the motherland’s care about and support for Hong Kong.”

He added that the exhibition of Lufengosaurus fossil in the Hong Kong Science Museum would arouse the interest of Hong Kong citizens, especially the young people, in the study of paleontology, who could make contributions to scientific research in China.

The first dinosaur fossil skeleton in China was unearthed in Lufeng by palaeontologist Yang Zhongjian in 1938. To extend his gratitude to his German Professor F von Huene for the latter’s assistance in the course of the excavation and research, Yang named this dinosaur species Lufengosaurus huenei at the completion of the mounting. Since then, the Lufengosaur has been known worldwide as the Chinese dinosaur, while Yang is known as the “Father of Dinosaur Research in China”.

Lufengosaur was a prosauropod that lived in the Early Jurassic period about 180 million years ago. It had a small head, a long neck and short forelimbs. The strong hind legs enabled it to stand upright and walk. The large tail helped to balance the body when running. The dinosaur was herbivorous and had small, flat teeth with coarse serration that facilitated shredding plants. Its sharp claws might be used to rake foliage from trees or for defence.

Lufeng is an inland basin located in the Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan and is famed as the“Homeland of the Dinosaurs”. It is renowned for its great diversity of dinosaur fossils that span across several geological periods. The burial sites are concentrated and contain well-preserved fossil specimens.

The dinosaur presented to Hong Kong is a Lufengosaurus magnus unearthed in Lufeng in June 2007. Measuring 7.8 metres long and 2.2 metres tall, the fossil skeleton is preserved in excellent condition with bones of the lower extremities fused in a natural posture. With the exception of the skull and parts of the tailbone which are replicas, the skeleton is almost entirely made up of more than 300 pieces of genuine bone.

The Science Museum is located at 2 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon. It is open from 1pm to 9pm from Monday to Friday and from 10am to 9pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Thursdays (except public holidays).

For enquiries or further information, please call 2732 3232 or visit the Science Museum's website at http://hk.science.museum.

To tie in with the exhibition on Lufengosaur and the cultural programme,“Colourful Yunnan – Enchanting Chuxiong Prefecture in Hong Kong”initiated by Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture, an exhibition entitled“Cultural Relics of Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture”will be held at the Hong Kong Museum of History and the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre.

The exhibition covers the themes of Yuanmou Man, Bronze Culture, and Yi Culture. Through the display of about 30 selected exhibits including the replicas of the incisors and stone tools used by the Yuanmou Man, the replicas of the earliest and most primitive bronze drums, the costumes and the ritual objects of the Yi-ethnic group selected from the Museum of Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture, visitors would learn more about the history and culture of the Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture.

The earliest Homo erectus (“upright man”) found in China is the Yuanmou Man of 1.7 million years ago.  He made the first page of China’s history. Unearthed from the tombs at Wanjiaba, Chuxiong city, the bronze drums and bells dated about 770 to 221BC bear witness to a flourishing bronze culture in China and the world. The Yi is the most populous ethnic group in Yunnan province, who  boast a legacy of ancient scripts, the mysterious culture of the Bimo (diviner) and rich ethnic costumes.

The exhibition is jointly presented by the People’s Government of Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, and is organised by the Museum of History, Antiquities and Monuments Office, and Museum of Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture. It will stage from October 24 to November 3 at the Museum of History, and from November 8 to 30 at the Heritage Discovery Centre. Admission is free to the exhibition.

The Museum of History is located at 100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui. It opens from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 7pm on Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Tuesdays except public holidays.  The Heritage Discovery Centre is located at Kowloon Park, Haiphong Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. It opens from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 7pm on Sundays and public holidays. The centre is closed on Thursdays (except public holidays).

For details, please visit the Museum of History’s website at http://hk.history.museum or call 2724 9042.

Lufengosaur from Yunnan makes Hong Kong Science Museum home
Lufengosaur from Yunnan makes Hong Kong Science Museum home

Source: GovHK (www.gov.hk)