The 2009 and 2010 Workshops: Sino-US Collaborative Research on Neogene Mammalian Chronology of Asia (Beijing)

We used the platform of Critical Transitions workshop to convene the first international meeting on Neogene mammalian biostratigraphy and geochronology Asia. This workshop on terrestrial paleobiology and biostratigraphy spanning the last 25 million years was held in June 8-10 at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a follow-up field conference was conducted in the Linxia Basin, Hezheng County, Gansu Province in June 11-15, 2009. The workshop was attended by an international array of more than 70 scholars and graduate students, with representation from 19 countries (Austria, China, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, India, Iran, Japan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United States). Click here for workshop group photo.

Presentations on the Neogene mammalian faunas from diverse Eurasian localities represent the first gathering of specialists from a broad representation of countries and taxonomic expertise. The audience was treated to an interesting and stimulating collation of reports. At the end of each day's presentations, the participants segued into a workshop discussion of the topics that had been presented, but with a major focus on the role to be played by the Chinese faunal succession in forming a cornerstone for Asian mammalian chronology. The background of China's long and fundamental role in developing a chronologic system was clearly recognized in this regard, and the array of approaches to developing chronological systems portrayed at this conference provided the Chinese organizers with considerable examples to draw upon in furthering their goals.

A major outcome of the workshop is a special conference issue in the journal Vertebrata PalAsiatica and a book to be published by Columbia University Press, both co-edited by Xiaoming Wang, Lawrence Flynn, and Mikael Fortelius. Seven contributions are to be included in the special issue of Vertebrata PalAsiatica, which was published in July 2011. Thirty-two chapters representing all major fossil-producing countries or regions in Asia are undergoing final editing of the CUP book and it is expected to be published in early 2012. When published, this book will be the first to summarize Asian terrestrial biostratigraphy and geochronology in all key countries and regions. With the newly updated databases in the CUP volume, broader questions regarding inter-regional relationships of faunas, communities, and environments are natural by-products of this effort, such as will be discussed in-depth in this proposed workshop.

With the help of a supplement grant (EAR-0924142), we organized a second workshop for the Neogene Cenozoic group in Beijing in March 2010. This second workshop was attended by editors of the CUP volume plus Michael Woodburne and Jin Meng, as well as Neogene mammal specialists from the IVPP, plus an NSF observer. This workshop was focused on the Chinese Neogene chronologic framework and intense debates were centered on the best principles and practices in North America, Asia, and Europe.

     National Science      Foundation

National Natural Science Foundation of China

    Geobiodiversity     Database