Friday, October 28, 2011
Dallas scientists discover dinosaur in northern Alaska
The dinosaur lived 70 million years ago and is named in part after the Perot family.
The Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum, a dinosaur named partially after Ross Perot and his family, was carefully removed from the ground recently by two Dallas paleontologists who work at the Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas. Coincidentally, the TV series NOVA on PBS was filming as Anthony Fiorillo, Ph.D., and Ronald Tykoski, Ph.D., made the finding in Alaska.
The dinosaur lived about 70 million years ago and was an herbivore, Fiorillo said. The skull they found was about three meters tall, and it will eventually find its home in Dallas.
Excavating a quarry above the Arctic Circle – which they toiled at for about three months over the course of three years – proved to be no easy task. “It was challenging,” said Fiorillo. “The weather was a little uncooperative.”
While working in frigid conditions, the team encountered permafrost, which is frozen ground that required extra time, and ultimately patience, in removing the dinosaur remains. In order to reach the skeleton layered in ice, Fiorillo explained that the crew would use their tools to scrape off pieces, then wait for the ice to melt. The skull itself was excavated patiently “over the course of one field season” – or about a month.
On November 2, the scientists' hard work will be explained in Las Vegas at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's 71st Annual Meeting. The dinosaur will then be on display after the Perot Museum of Nature & Science opens its doors in 2013. The skeletal remains of Pachyrhinosaurus will be part of a “featured exhibition.” There, visitors will be able to experience up close what was once a large, roaming dinosaur.
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