Overview: Geology Department
The Department is responsible for the collection, production, research, identification and preservation of geological specimens and data. In addition, the Department also supports the promotion and presentation of science education and exhibitions related to geology. To promote and implement the tasks in efficiency, the Department is divided into two divisions, the Rock and Mineral Division and the Paleobiology Division.
The Geology Department mainly collects specimens related to the formation of the earth, environmental changes and the evolution of life, including minerals, rocks, sediments, vertebrate and invertebrate fossils, microfossils, plant fossils, and cores obtained from geological drilling cores.
A special exhibition on the diversity of mammalian teeth in the museum, 2006
Major Research Results
In the past two years, our research team successfully put together a team with scholars from Canadian Museum of Nature(CMN), National Science Museum, Tokyo (NSM) and Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology(IVPP), Beijing to conduct research on fossils of Mesozoic marine reptile, which included taxonomy, reproductive biology, ontogeny and evolution. The results has attracted attention from the international academic community.
In 2005, we published an article "A Pair of Shelled Eggs Inside A Female Dinosaur" in "Science" (vol. 308, 15 April 2005, p. 375). This was the first direct evidence about the reproductive strategy of theropod dinosaur and a missing link between the prototype of Archosauria and advanced types of birds. Our team continued to study how Oviraptoroid Dinosaurs hatched eggs in nested grouping and their parenting behavior. It is expected that the result would again catch attention from the scientific community.
We published two papers in 2006 and both papers were selected as cover stories of professional journals and recognized by the scientific community. The first paper described the fossil of a Triassic Archosaurian from China which was a new taxa named Qianosuchus mixtus. The paper was published in German well-known journal Naturwissenschaften.(Naturwissenschaften 93: 200~206, 15 March 2006). This was the first fossil of a prototype archosaurian that may have lived in marine environment. The other paper described ancestral fossil of plesiosaurs found near Cha River area in the southwest of Guichou Province in China. The brand new pistosaurs was named Yunguisaurus liae and the paper was published on Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology(JVP) in United States.(Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 26(2): 100~105, June 2006). This was the first specimen of pistosauroid found in China and the most complete single specimen in the world. Researchers of our team are working on detailed description of the fossil and the first draft is expected to be completed by the end of 2006. The result of the research will provide important information for the research of the whole lineage of the plesiosaurus group. (Cheng, Yen-nien)
Source: Biennial Report of the National Museum of Natural Science (2005-2006)