June was such a fun and exciting month at our museum and July is looking just as exciting.
FYI: A relative of Triceratops
A newly described horned dinosaur with peculiar ornamentation has been found by paleontologists to be a close relative of Triceratops. It had a longer nose horn than Triceratops and two small horns above its eyes. Its most distinctive feature was a radiating frill and a set of large plates like a crown on top of the head. Researchers at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Canada named their find Regaliceratops peterhewsi. It probably evolved during the late Cretaceous period and was found with a nearly complete skull and is described in the journal Current Biology.
Raptors are characterized by particularly nasty feet says Persons. Their big toes each had an enlarged hooked talon, called the “killing claw”. The research team has documented a fossil footprint site in central China, which contains the tracks of several kinds of dinosaurs, including raptors. With this site the team has gained new insights into raptor locomotion. These findings have been published this month in the scientific journal PaleoWorld. The killing claw was normally held in a raised position to keep it sharp, although we have discovered in this study that there are exceptions. In a small percentage of the raptor tracks, an impression of the usually raised big toe claw was found. One reason the raptors occasionally lowered their killing claws into the ground could have been because the tracks were left in the soft mud of a lake shore and the raptors needed extra traction. So, although the killing claw was primarily a weapon, it may also have been used to help them out of situations where they were stuck in the mud.
Reprinted from materials provided by the University of Alberta.