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Chinese paleontologist keeps 'The Living Past' alive with fossils


08-03-2018 10:39 BJT

Full coverage: ‘看中国’外国青年影像计划专题

Editor's forward: "Looking China" International Youth Film Project is co-organized by the Academy for International Communication of Chinese Culture (AICCC), Beijing Normal University and Huilin Foundation. The program focuses on the young participants’ personal experiences of Chinese culture and encourages them to discover and tell Chinese stories from their own perspectives.

As of the year 2018, students from 35 countries were invited to participate in the "Looking China" project. They were stationed in 11 municipalities, provinces and autonomous region here in China. Every filmmaker has worked out a 10-minute short film about Chinese culture around the topic of "Ecology, Biology, Lifeology."

To understand our world today and tomorrow, we should look back in history. What defines our current age is on account of what has happened in the past.

But what about the Paleothic Era when dinosaurs were alive? That's an important time too and Chinese Paleontologist Zhu Songlin, who works at the Chongqing Natural History Museum, is doing his part to inform the public about what life may have looked like when dinosaurs roamed the world.

The short film, 'The Linving Past,' directed by Isabella Yoshimura, produced by Yong Shiyan and supervised by Cecilia Mello, features an interview with Zhu at his workplace. He describes his lifelong passion for excavating dinosaur fossils in Sichuan province, southwestern China.

His first big dig was in 1979 when he was a student working alongside a team where they all discovered the fossil skeleton of a large dinosaur buried deep in Lanjiang, Sichuan Province. Zhu had also uncovered the fossil of a freshwater shell turtle, one of the oldest mammal fossils in the world.

And for the next 40 years, Zhu has devoted his life to fossils, as well as working at the Chongqing Natural History Museum for the past 20 years. He even leads a team of workers who go on excavations and after retrieving fossil pieces he works diligently to shape them back together into a skeleton whole.

Such efforts require tedious work but Zhu remains undaunted. He believes it's his duty to work as a paleontologist because dinosaurs can explain the mysteries of science, such as the biological evolution theory.

Sometimes if you visit a natural history museum, you will see on display dinosaur skeletons and perhaps, you may think it's not a big deal. But when watching 'The Living Dead' you discover that the work of paleontologists is not an easy path for them.

They must work long hours either out in the fields or at a museum, making sure each part gets connected to the skeleton at the end of the project. They can not overlook any details or take shortcuts. They must carry on their duties or risk the world forgetting about 'The Living Past' when dinosaurs were key players of the Animal Kingdom during the Paleolithic Era.

(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )


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