Sauropod dinosaur discovery in the USA

This video says about itself:

UCL Earth Sciences researcher Dr Mike Taylor is part of an international team that has discovered a new dinosaur named Brontomerus mcintoshi, or “thunder thighs”, for its enormous thigh muscles.

From University College London in England:

New ‘thunder-thighs’ dinosaur discovered

Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 – 05:32

A new dinosaur named Brontomerus mcintoshi, or “thunder-thighs” after its enormously powerful thigh muscles, has been discovered in Utah, USA. The new species is described in a paper recently published in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica by an international team of scientists from the U.K. and the U.S. A member of the long-necked sauropod group of dinosaurs which includes Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus, Brontomerus may have used its powerful thighs as a weapon to kick predators, or to help travel over rough, hilly terrain. Brontomerus lived about 110 million years ago, during the Early Cretaceous Period, and probably had to contend with fierce “raptors” such as Deinonychus [see also here] and Utahraptor.

The fossilised bones of two specimens of Brontomerus mcintoshi – an adult and a juvenile – were rescued from a previously looted and damaged quarry in eastern Utah by researchers from the Sam Noble Museum. Paleontologists speculate that the larger specimen is the mother of the younger and would have weighed around 6 tons, about the size of a large elephant, and measured 14 meters in length. At a third of the size, the smaller specimen would have weighed about 200 kg, the size of a pony, and been 4.5 m long.

The authors classified the new genus based on an incomplete skeleton including bones from the shoulder, hip, ribs, vertebrae and some unidentifiable fragments. They used the bones to identify Brontomerus’ unique features, primarily the shape of the ilium (hip bone), which, in the case of Brontomerus, is unusually large in comparison to that of similar dinosaurs. The wide, blade-shaped bone projects forward ahead of the hip socket, providing a proportionally massive area for the attachment of muscles.

The shape of the bone indicates that the animal would likely have had the largest leg muscles of any dinosaur in the sauropod family. This is reflected in the name Brontomerus, which literally means “thunder-thighs.” The dinosaur’s species name, mcintoshi, was chosen in honor of John “Jack” McIntosh, a retired physicist at Wesleyan University, Conn., and lifelong avocational paleontologist.

See also here. And here.

Diplodocus, and possibly other sauropods, stripped leaves from branches and swallowed the plant material whole: here.

Scientists debate: Are birds living dinosaurs? Here.

5 thoughts on “Sauropod dinosaur discovery in the USA

  1. Bone discovery suggests dinosaurs survived 700,000 years past meteorite strike

    By Randy Boswell, Postmedia News January 28, 2011

    A fossilized sauropod bone, dated by a team of Canadian and U.S. scientists to 64.8 million years ago, appears likely to force a serious rethinking of the demise of dinosaurs, which were supposed to have been wiped out in a catastrophic meteorite strike no later than 65.5 million years ago — 700,000 years before the death of the giant, vegetarian beast that left its femur behind in present-day New Mexico.

    A study of the bone in the latest issue of the journal Geology, co-authored by University of Alberta paleontologist Larry Heaman and two U.S. colleagues, “confounds the long established paradigm that the age of the dinosaurs ended between 65.5 million and 66 million years ago,” states a summary of the findings.

    The study also represents a landmark achievement in the use of a uranium-lead dating technique — developed at the University of Alberta — that allowed the team to pinpoint the age of the bone directly from a fragment of the specimen, not just indirectly from the layer of rock in which it was found.

    The bone was unearthed near the New Mexico-Colorado border by U.S. paleontologist James Fassett, one of the study’s two American co-authors.

    In the past, Fassett has controversially proposed that the region may have been a refuge for some dinosaurs that survived the colossal meteorite strike widely believed to have ended the dinosaur age between 65.5 and 66 million years ago.

    The new findings, Heaman told Postmedia News on Friday, appear to support Fassett’s theory that at least some dinosaurs survived the catastrophic impact and persisted for hundreds of thousands of years.

    “For some time, there’s been other evidence that suggests dinosaurs survived,” he said, at least in some small pockets, after their supposed extinction.

    But it hasn’t been “ironclad evidence,” he noted. “What was missing was some way to directly date the bone itself. Up to now, it’s just never been possible, so this is the first real success.”

    Heaman said confirming the New Mexican sauropod bone as 64.8 million years old “opens the door to all kinds of questions,” including the validity of the theory that a single meteorite strike destroyed all dinosaur habitats around the world in a very short time.

    Recent studies have challenged that theory include some suggesting a series of meteorite impacts caused the dinosaurs to disappear and others positing massive volcanic eruptions that triggered deadly, planetwide climate disturbances.

    “But, clearly, not all species (of dinosaurs) became extinct,” said Heaman. “And so could there be some sort of micro-environment where these dinosaurs perhaps had an oasis or a haven where they could survive.”


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