Gan, Pearl, and Xiang Rivers

A land of living fossils; Avatar landscapes in the southeast Chinese Mountains; along the Maritime Silk Road

I. Map boundaries

20 to 30 degrees North; 108 to 117 degrees East

II. Countries

China (Anhui, Chongqing Municipality, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi Autonomous Region, Guizhou, Hainan, Hong Kong, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Taiwan (Pratas)) and Vietnam (Quang Ninh).

III. Overview

The limestone pinnacles amid lush evergreen forests of the Guizhou Plateau and the Nan Ling (South Mountains) are one of the inspirations for the floating mountains in the recent movie Avatar. In 1955, during botanical exploration of Guangxi Autonomous Region, botanists discovered a conifer that had some resemblance to both pines and firs. Further examination indicated that fossil pollen from this new species dates back to the Cretaceous era (greater than 65 million years ago). Today the Cathay silver fir is considered a living fossil and is known from nine locations in the mountains of southern China, five of which are within the map area. The other locations are just to the west. Continue reading