China News Service, Shiyan, February 28 (Zhang Qianlong and Zhu Jiang) New biological fossil resources have been discovered in the Kanzi Mountain area of ​​Yunxi County, Shiyan City, Hubei Province.

By comparing domestic and foreign plant fossil assemblages and investigating and verifying regional strata, geological experts confirmed that this is a plant fossil group from the early Carboniferous period, which was formed approximately 340 to 320 million years ago.

This discovery is of great significance in promoting paleontological research in Carboniferous strata.

  According to reports, the newly discovered biological fossil resources in Yunxi County are mainly distributed in the southern part of Kanzishan Village and Huping Village in Hubei Kou Hui Township. Spread out, covering an area of ​​about 2.7 square kilometers.

The picture shows the wedge fern fossil.

Photo by Zhao Bi

  "The lithology of this formation is a set of yellow-brown carbonaceous shale mixed with limestone lenses. It has a high mud content and is weak in nature. It has caused many small-scale collapses along the road wall. The census team accidentally dropped rocks on the roadside. On the surface of the block, imprints of small fern pinnae were found." According to Zhao Bi, an expert from the Hubei Provincial Paleontology and Fossils Committee, they further carried out fossil collection and identification work by tracing fossil clues, and found numerous species of ancient plants that were exceptionally beautifully preserved. The fossils are buried in this formation that is more than 200 meters thick.

  After preliminary identification by geological experts, lycopodium, cuneiform fern, spade fern, three-lobed fern, cuneiform fern, ctenophyte fern, barbeled fern, vein fern, wedge fern, etc. have been identified in this plant fossil assemblage. There are at least more than 10 genera and species such as Reticulata, which involve at least 3 major plant categories such as Lycopodium, knot fern, and seed fern.

Most of these ancient plants are early types that have been extinct in the long history of the earth, and their living periods can be traced back to hundreds of millions of years ago.

  Zhao Bi said that the Carboniferous is the most important coal-forming period in China. Shanxi and other provinces have developed Carboniferous coal seams with huge thickness. However, Carboniferous coal resources are scarce in the central region, and research on the Carboniferous is also weak.

"Hubei Carboniferous plant fossils have been discovered in small quantities in Songzi, Changyang and other places, but the fossil layers are only a few meters thick, there are few plant types, and there are only some preliminary understandings." Zhao Bi said that Shiyan discovered the huge thickness of the Carboniferous plant fossils this time. The plant fossil layer has continuous stratigraphic distribution and clear boundaries between the top and bottom plates. Preliminary observation of the plant fossils present in it has determined that it is an ancient plant community with high biodiversity. This is the first discovery in Hubei Province and has great influence on the promotion of Hubei Carboniferous It is of great significance to research on paleontology and popular science education in ancient stratigraphy.

  It is reported that the Carboniferous period was an important stage in the evolution of Earth's organisms. At that time, the global paleogeographic pattern was completely different from today's. Mainland China had not yet been formed. The North China and South China plates were still independent plates "floating" near the equator, and they were separated by the Qinling Ocean. Separated by the Shiyan Kanzi Mountains, the Shiyan Kanzi Mountain area is located in the sea-land interaction zone on the south side of the North China Plate. The hot and humid coastal climate makes the terrestrial vegetation here extremely lush, and the coastal swamp environment also creates excellent conditions for the burial and preservation of plant fossils.