In this Chinese book (with an English preface) the author presents numerous remarkable fossils that he found between 1975 and 1991 in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. We received the book from him in Urumqi (Xinjiang Province) in 1995. Using the impressive color prints of his findings and various Latin technical terms to orient ourselves, we were able to pick out certain passages which were then translated for us by a Chinese colleague. This suffices, in our opinion, to draw the attention of the academic world to the spectacular findings presented in the book.
The author uses the term "paleo-ecological geography" to describe the reconstruction of the environment of the late Paleozoic era. He combines these into a complete account of the interaction between the biosphere and the geographical conditions of this region during the course of the earth's history.
The findings described here were made in the Tian Shan mountain range, but the author does not identify the area more precisely. The area contains a continuous sequence of late Paleozoic (Carboniferous and Permian) to Mesozoic (Triassic and Jurassic) sediments. Numerous folds and faults, now covered by Quaternary loess deposits, indicate complicated tectonics. The area consists of a valley aligned on a roughly east-west axis with hills rising on either side to 934.4 meters.
The 50-meter-thick Permian sediments contain, in addition to sandstone, a bituminous limestone with lacustrine flora and fauna. Altogether seven fossil sites are mentioned. The author dates them as Lower Permian (270 to 280 million years). At present, a final stratigraphical judgment is not possible. However the fossil evidence suggests to us an earlier dating at the beginning of the Permian.
The book mainly consists of a presentation of the fossils in numerous color photographs, some of which are excellent. The author uses the...