Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Dallas has its own "mini mosasaur"

SMU and Dallas Museum of Natural History Announce Missing Fossil Link Dallasaurus

Sculptor Ross McMillan with model of Dallasaurus

"(DALLAS) — When amateur fossil finder Van Turner discovered a small vertebra at a construction site near Dallas 16 years ago, he knew the creature was unlike anything in the fossil record. Scientists now know the significance of Turner’s fossil as the origin of an extinct line of lizards with an evolutionary twist: a land-dwelling species that became fully aquatic.

...They describe Dallasaurus, a three-foot long lizard who lived 92 million years ago in the shallow seas and shores of what was then a stretch of Texas mostly under water, and also used the fossil to better understand the mosasaur family tree. Polcyn and Bell painstakingly pieced together an understanding of the anatomy and natural history of Dallasaurus from the bones Turner discovered and from some matching skeletal remains at the Texas Memorial Museum at the University of Texas in Austin. "

Read the complete article on SMU's site

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