Dinosaur age crab named after amateur paleontologist

Distefania vanrijsselti

This is a picture of the fossil crab species Distefania vanrijsselti; discovered near Maastricht in the Netherlands; from the Cretaceous, when dinosaurs ruled the earth. It was not a big crab; the yardstick at the bottom of the picture is one centimeter.

Translated from Vroege Vogels radio in the Netherlands, 5 October 2014:

During many hundreds of Saturdays amateur paleontologist Willy Rijsselt, along with his son Erik could be found in the quarry ‘t Rooth, near Maastricht. He managed to secure an unprecedented amount of fossils for his own collection, but also for science. By way of tribute, there is now a 67 million year old crab named after him: the Distefania vanrijsselti.

Good wall lizard news

This video is about counting wall lizards along the railroad to Lanaken in Belgium, near Maastricht in Limburg province in the Netherlands.

Translated from the Dutch RAVON herpetologists:

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

During the renovation of a railway line in Maastricht in 2008 the wall lizard was taken into account. For those lizards, very rare in the Netherlands then there more than 20 drystone walls were built. Since then, the population is closely monitored annually by RAVON. This monitoring showed until recently that there was a slow recovery. However, the reproductive success was lower than people hoped. But the counts of this late summer bring good news. This year, more newborn wall lizards are crawling around than ever before!

Protecting vulnerable populations

The wall lizard lives in the Netherlands originally only in Maastricht. Here live a few hundred to under a thousand animals. That may seem like a lot, but on the northern edge of its range, in an isolated habitat this species in our country is very vulnerable.

Sawfish from dinosaur age discovery

This video is called How the sawfish uses its saw.

Translated from Dutch news agency ANP:

Fossil sawfish snout, a unique discovery

Thursday, December 19, 2013 11:11

In the marl quarry of ENCI in Maastricht the fossil snout, called a rostrum, of a sawfish has been found. To our knowledge this is the first discovery in the world of the rostrum of the species Ganopristis leptodon, Brabants Dagblad daily reports.

The fish lived 66 million years ago.

See also here.

Good Dutch smooth snake news

This is a smooth snake video.

The RAVON herpetologists in the Netherlands report that for the first time since fifty years, smooth snakes have been seen on the Sint Pietersberg mountain near Maastricht.

Compared to other Dutch provinces, there are amphibian species in Limburg which lack elsewhere. On the Sint Pietersberg are also wall lizards not found elsewhere in the Netherlands; and slow worms, which do occur elsewhere. However, there are not as many snakes as in other provinces. Only in the extreme east of Limburg there are a few smooth snakes and grass snakes. To which we can now add the Maastricht smooth snakes, which reproduce.

Dutch mosasaur discovery news

Lower jaw details of the newly discovered mosasaur, photo ANP/Marcel van Hoorn

Translated from L1 regional radio in the Netherlands:

Researchers at the Natural History Museum in Maastricht have unearthed approximately one-third of the mosasaur which was discovered last week.

The rest of the skeleton had probably already been excavated during the marl extraction in the ENCI quarry and so, it disappeared.

The scientists are pleased that most of the head has been recovered. In addition, they found, inter alia, the collar-bone and a so-called bud tooth of a few millimeters in size.

This is a new tooth hidden in the jaw which only emerges as an old tooth falls out.

Daily De Telegraaf again makes the mistake of calling the fossil a dinosaur. While mosasaurs are much closer related to, eg, monitor lizards of today then to dinosaurs.

Mosasaur discovered in Maastricht

Mosasaurus hofmanni

Yesterday, the natural history museum in Maastricht in the Netherlands did not yet want to say which huge fossil animal from the age of dinosaurs they had discovered near the local ENCI factory.

Today, at a press conference, there was more clarity.

They said it was a big mosasaur, probably a Mosasaurus hofmanni, or a closely related species.

Mosasaurus hofmanni was the first mosasaur ever discovered amidst much publicity in the eighteenth century, also in Maastricht. The original fossil was stolen from Maastricht by French soldiers, and brought to the Paris museum where it still is.

The fossil is 13 meter long, 68 million years old, and is called Carlo, after the ENCI worker who first discovered it.

A twitter message from the museum says that the skull of the newly discovered mosasaur (the only part of the animal recovered completely so far, though an important part) is about 10% bigger than the Paris specimen’s.

Dutch NOS TV says that probably, after the death of the mosasaur, scavenging sharks dispersed its remains. The search for other parts of the skeleton is still continuing.