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Country Undoria: How Russia Regained its Status of Dinosaur Land
May 21, 2017 19:31

A unique museum in the Ulyanovsk Region displays archeological finds that refute the opinion that there were no dinosaurs in the European part of Russia. It was founded by geologist Vladimir Efimov, and the finds are 150 million years old.
"Russian dinosaurs, just like snakes of Ireland, are remarkable only because they do not exist," - 19th-century American paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh pointed ironically. And at that time he had a reason to say so - indeed, not a single dinosaur bone was found on the territory of the Russian Empire by the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Later, in Soviet times, scientists proved that dinosaurs had inhabited Siberia, but the existence of land dinosaurs in the European part of Russia was proved only in 1997. That was done by modest researcher Vladimir Efimov from Ulyanovsk.
26 years ago a candidate of geological and mineralogical sciences, he founded a school museum in the village of Undory, Ulyanovsk Region at his own expense. Being actively developed, it eventually got the status of a branch of the Regional Local Lore Museum.
The museum keeps the main wealth – prehistoric dinosaur bones unearthed in the territory of the Ulyanovsk Region. The scientist himself says that he feels like a priest in the temple, which is now displaying everything that has been accumulated in the layers of earth for millions of years.
“Some of the most unique Undora exhibits found in the Ulyanovsk Region are the underosaur skeleton, as well as the bones of the winged pterodactyl, the land dinosaur, the plesiosaur, the pliosaur, the mammoth, and the heteromorphic ammonites. In other parts of Russia, there is nothing of the kind”, - the museum founder said.
Over almost 40 years of work Vladimir Efimov together with his sons has managed to organize scientific research of fossil animals, as well as initiate the foundation of two paleontological sanctuaries.
“When I compared the shapes of skeletons of Russian finds with Western samples, I saw that we have peculiar shapes that differ in the structure of the skeleton, skull and so on. Thus I had to create a then unknown family of undroseaurids, which includes several genera (simbirskosaurs, plutonosaurs, and others)” – he explained.
After all the finds were processed and named, they had to be placed somewhere. So the scientist came up with the idea of ​​creating a museum.
Becoming a Land of Dinosaurs
For a long time there were no remains of land dinosaurs found in the European part of Russia and it was believed that the dinosaurs had never lived there. In 1997 Vladimir Efimov and his expedition managed to find 12 vertebrae with the bones of these animals in the Zakhariev Mine of the Ulyanovsk Region. This is a very great asset for the palaeontologist, as it is usually possible to find only separate elements of the skeleton. Thanks to good graces of the discoverer, it was named Undorosaurids - after the village of Undory in the Ulyanovsk Region, where the bones had been found.
“We can say that we have regained the status of Russia as one of the dinosaur lands. For the first time Metriorhynchus marine crocodiles and pterodactyls were identified in the territory of this country.
Representatives of this family were medium-sized - 4-6 meters in length. In total Vadim Efimov has unearthed about 150 skeletons and their fragments, which are over 150 million years old.
The scientist made a discovery after the discovery, without thinking that the findings would cause an international stir. For a long time, world science did not pay heed to them, but in recent years foreign scientists have started showing active interest in them. Last year Vadim Efimov was visited by colleagues from Norway and Sweden, who had found fragments of ichthyosaurs skeletons on their territory. It turned out that these are undosaurs described by the Russian scientists 20 years back.


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Dinosaurus     

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