Lone grads to stop paleontology’s extinction in China
Published: May 22, 2016 08:18 PM Updated: May 22, 2016 09:20 PM
An Yongrui is a rare find. This month he was awarded a degree in paleontology at top-ranked Peking University, valedictorian of his class.

He's also the only member of his class.

"It's kind of hard to be social if your class only has one person in it. It's science, and an unpopular one. You can imagine there aren't many eligible women around to meet," the new graduate said. 

And he's carrying on a tradition, of sorts.

An is the sixth consecutive class at the PKU School of Paleontology to produce a single graduate since 2008.

Despite boasting dozens of major fossil sites that have yielded new discoveries, China has been struggling to produce young paleontologists.

PKU is one of a few schools offering paleontology, where some years there are no applicants at all.

"Even at PKU there are students who don't know paleontology is offered," said Xue Yifan, another champion of the subject who became an Internet celebrity after her class-of-one graduation photo she made for her parents went viral in 2014.

"If they do, they think ... you can't earn much doing it," said Xue.