dinosaur museum

November 2014 Newsletter

FROM THE EDUCATION DESK
Bizarre Dinosaur
For half a century, all that was known about this dinosaur, was that it was found in the Gobi desert in 1965, named in 1970, and it had enormous forearms measuring 8 ft. long that were tipped with three giant claws. Its name, Deinocheirus mirificus, means “unusual horrible hand.”
deinocheirus skeletonThe discovery of two nearly complete 70 million year old skeletons in Mongolia in 2006 and 2009 have finally answered a lot of questions about this specimen. The international research team, led by Dr.Yuong-Nam Lee from the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, and Dr. Tsogtbaatar Chinzorig of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences’ Paleontological Center, says the animal was about 36ft. long, 12 ft. tall at the hip, and weighed around 6 tons. It had an elongated head with a duck-like beak, and a large humped sail on its back. The hump may have been used to intimidate rivals or attract mates.It had giant hoofed feet and short, stumpy legs. It was thought to be a slow mover and the large feet with hooves would have prevented it from sinking into the boggy wetlands where it lived. Fourteen hundred gastroliths, (gizzard stones), which might have been used to grind up plants were also found. The contents of its stomach suggest that it was omnivorous, eating plants and fish. The long forearms with the giant claws may have been used for digging and gathering plants in fresh water habitats. It had a long toothless snout which flared out to both sides.Professor Philip Currie, of the University of Alberta’s Department of Biological Sciences and co-author of the study, said “Its great size probably gave it some protection from the tyrannosaurid Tarbosaurus, which appears to have been relatively common in that part of Mongolia 70 million years ago.”

Paleontologist Stephen Brusatte called it, “Wild beyond imagination. There will always be room for new discoveries, but with this latest discovery come almost as many new questions as answers.”

The fossils were extraordinary enough for scientists to declare the dinosaur a new genus and species.

The study was published in the October 22, 2104 journal Nature.

A Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.
Geri Lebold
Education Director

“We cannot solve the problems that we have created with the same thinking that created them.” – Albert Einstein

 

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