dinosaur museum

April 2017 Newsletter

Spring is here! Summer is not far behind! Love to see those buds on the trees trying to blossom.
Alaska and New Discoveries:
The polar forests supported a diverse range of animals, from the tiniest bird-beaked predators to the state’s newest discovery, Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis,a plant eating hadrosaur that grew as big as 25 feet. These dinosaurs evolved adaptations to help them survive annual average temperatures in the 40s, much colder than what scientists previously thought dinosaurs could endure. “These were dinosaurs living at the very edge of what we think dinosaurs were physiologically capable of”, said Patrick Druckenmiller of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, where he is earth sciences curator. He goes on to say, “By reptilian standards, that’s pretty chilly”.

While dinosaurs dominated on land, the ocean was home to still more distinct species. Recently, fossil hunters confirmed the first elasmosaur discovered in Alaska. Scientists are working to unearth the skeleton of one of these long-necked creatures with small skulls and paddle-like limbs in the Talkeetna Mountains. Druckenmiller also announced plans for a new track site found in Denali. Recent work by the museum includes the discovery of the first dinosaur bones in Denali National Park. They have also acquired two partial mastodon skeletons through a donation from a private owner. The museum believes these are the most complete mastodons ever found in Alaska.

Geri Lebold
Education Director

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