Canada: many dinosaur bones found


Edmontosaurus annectens

From CBC in Canada:

A huge dinosaur bone yard has been uncovered in Edmonton, where housing construction is booming.

A man walking his dog in a city park found the first fossils some years ago, but now paleontologists are discovering the site’s full potential.

The bones belong to one of the largest duck-billed dinosaurs, known as Edmontosaurus.

The 13-metre-long, slow-moving, short-armed plant eater roamed through swampy habitat 70 million years ago.

Although the species is named after the city, the fossils were previously found only in southern Alberta.

“Because Edmontosaurus has such a huge distribution north and south, all the way up to the north slope of Alaska, we may also learn something about the migratory patterns of dinosaurs,” said Phil Currie, a paleontologist at the University of Alberta.

Construction on new homes is non-stop in Edmonton, sparking fears that yet-to-be-discovered bones are being built over. …

Shaw has also come across teeth belonging to predators.

It’s possible the teeth belong to the Albertosaurus that may have hunted or killed the Edmontosaurs or scavenged its remains.

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5 thoughts on “Canada: many dinosaur bones found

  1. Edmonton feeding ground for T-rex-type dinosaur reveals new mysteries

    LISA ARROWSMITH
    Published Thursday June 28th, 2007

    A dinosaur feeding ground discovered in southwest Edmonton is dishing up some astonishing new details about two huge creatures that lived about 70 million years ago.

    Scientists said Thursday the bed of dinosaur bones reveals that two plant-eating dinosaurs thought to have lived in different eras actually lived at the same time.

    World-renowned paleontologist Phil Currie from the University of Alberta hunched beside a creek, not far from a housing development in southwest Edmonton, carefully trowelling away black chunks of dirt from the ribs and pelvic bone of a five-tonne plant eater named Edmontosaurus.

    The dozen people working at three sites along the creek have also found the remains of a duck-billed dinosaur, Saurolophus – a horned, plant-eating dinosaur with a skull about a metre long.

    Remains of both dinosaurs found in different heights in rock formations near Drumheller, Alta., suggested that the two lived in different eras of the Late Cretaceous period.

    But bones from the two dinosaurs were found mixed together at the Edmonton site, suggesting they lived during the same era, said Currie.

    Teeth from an earlier cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex have also been found at the site, suggesting that the huge carnivores feasted on the massive carcasses of the plant eaters.

    The bone bed, which was discovered last year, is a gold mine of dinosaur information – more than scientists might be able to retrieve from even intact, whole skeletons.

    “What you’re interested in is looking at, say, growth in Edmontosaurus. A bone bed is going to tell you a lot more,” said Currie.

    “We’ve got big animals and small animals and we can see how they change with growth. We can make comparisons much more rapidly than if we waited until we found a whole skeleton of an Edmontosaurus down in Drumheller.”

    Between 700 and 1,000 dinosaur skeletons have been excavated in Alberta in the last 100 years, Currie said, making Alberta unique in all the world.

    But rich deposits in a bone bed can yield a wealth of information on 20 to 30 animals in just two weeks.

    Phil Bell, a masters student from Wollongong, Australia, spends his days in a three-metre-deep pit, using dental picks, trowels and soft brushes to carefully scoop dirt away from giant pelvic bones.

    All the bones are cast in plaster to preserve them before they’re taken back to the U of A lab for analysis.

    Then the entire dig site has to be digitally mapped and plotted to keep track of where every fragment, however tiny, was found.

    Bell thinks climate change 70 million years ago heated up the southern regions where these dinosaurs roamed, forcing them north to find food.

    “I think the animals were dead before they were fed on. I think these animals probably died as the result of a drought,” he said.

    The T-rex cousin, Daspletosaurus – a monster nine metres long with a giant appetite for its plant-eating prey – may have hunted in packs and used the area as a feeding ground, said Bell.

    But he hopes all their excavating will help solve the mystery of how the animals died.

    “It’s kind of unusual when you get so many dead animals in one spot,” he said, perching atop an embankment overlooking the dig site.

    “It happens today when animals die in herds, whether they cross a river in flood and animals trample each other and ultimately drown. I’m trying to determine exactly what happened here.”

    James Glasier, 21, a paleontology student, carefully brushes dirt away from an Edmontonsaurus bone, alongside first-timer Eric Davis.

    Davis, a Houston-based employee of energy giant BP, has volunteered to get down and dirty for a week at the excavation site.

    “This is probably a leg bone that’s going to run way back there,” Davis said, gesturing with a gloved hand to a large, shiny bone that is starting to peek through the dirt.

    “When my company asked who would like to volunteer for a week, I put my hand up,” said the Texas native as he swatted away swarms of mosquitoes.

    BP has partnered with the university’s field studies program, providing about $90,000 for it over three years.

    Glasier, a veteran digger, believes he’s found his life’s work.

    “To think this came from an animals the size of a small elephant that lived 70 million years ago, when this place was entirely different, it’s quite fascinating.”

  2. Dinosaurs On Ice

    8:30pm Tuesday, 22 Jul 2008 Documentary CC G

    Deep inside the arctic, scientists are experimenting with extreme palaeontology methods to unlock the secrets of polar dinosaurs, and perhaps the key to our own survival on Earth.

    On Alaska’s north slope there are dinosaur bones, lots of them. But they’re trapped in an icy tomb – an impenetrable wall of permafrost.

    Dinosaurs on Ice follows the journey of two scientists, Dr Tom Rich and Dr Tony Fiorillo, who undertake separate expeditions to the Colville River in Alaska’s far north to uncover the dinosaurs’ bones and break the ice on a prehistoric world that until now has been unreachable. But the task is not easy. The weather is extreme, the location remote.

    Dr Tom Rich from the Museum of Victoria became a leading authority on polar dinosaurs after discovering them in Australia over two decades ago. He wants to build a mine into the Alaskan permafrost to uncover dinosaur bones.

    Dr Tony Fiorillo from Dallas has been working on the north slope for 10 years, using more traditional methods.

    The idea for the dinosaur mine on Alaska’s north slope was originally inspired by Dr Tom Rich’s success using the same methods on the coast of Australia. For many years palaeontologists and volunteers painstakingly blasted and drilled into the base of a 90 metre high cliff in a remote part of the rugged coast of south eastern Australia – the only dinosaur mine in the world.

    http://www.abc.net.au/tv/guide/netw/200807/programs/ZY8202A001D22072008T203000.htm

  3. Pingback: Liebster Award, thanks Morrighan! | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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