A new generation of paleontologists are finally bringing dinosaurs back to life in China

Xu Xing remembers receiving his acceptance letter from Peking University (PKU)—along with his assigned major, paleontology. He had always wanted to be a scientist, a big dream for a boy from the foothills of Xinjiang’s Tianshan Mountains.

“I didn’t know what paleontology meant, so I asked my teacher, who also didn’t know, and suggested that it might be a cutting-edge field,” Xu now laughs. “You can imagine my disappointment when I realized that I would be studying fossils hundreds of millions of years old.”

Today, Xu’s office at the Chinese Academy of Sciences is filled with fossils—crammed on tables, bookshelves, and even the floor, with the exception of a carefully constructed path from the door to his desk. As Xu walks by, he picks up these priceless items without a second thought; he’d dug most of them out of the dirt himself.

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A Roaring Trade is a story from our issue, “Home Bound.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.


Emily Conrad is a contributing writer at The World of Chinese.

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