FROM THE EDUCATION DESK
It is monsoon season now and we are having very heavy rains and hail in the afternoon for the last two weeks. We certainly need it but the flooding in parts of the city is a little worrisome. It is either feast or famine it seems. Take care and be safe!
The Dinosaurs of Aniakchak
Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve is one of Alaska’s least -visited parks. Paleontologist Dr. Fiorillo, who uncovered these tracks, is the chief curator and vice president of research and collections at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, where several Alaskan discoveries are on display. Dr. Fiorillo feels this is a prime area to study dinosaur ecology.
In 2001, Dr. Fiorillo found the first record of a dinosaur in any Alaskan national park. Since that trip, he has found dinosaur fossils in four Alaskan national parks, including Denali National Park and Preserve, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve and Yukon-Charlie Rivers National Preserve.
This summer, Dr. Fiorillo returned to Aniakchak with his team to better understand the climate and ecosystem during the time of the 70 million year old fossils that date back to the Late Cretaceous Period.
Fiorillo says that 85 percent of the footprints are from Hadrosaurids or duck-billed dinosaurs. He feels there is so much information in this area that this will be one of the best stories about dinosaur ecology anywhere in North America, or perhaps the world. He feels it is exceptional to find so much information from a place that is so remote.
Data from this summer’s trip to Aniakchak will be completely compiled by the spring, and he plans to return next summer to continue studying the area.
“You may think you can’t change the world by helping one animal but, to that animal it means the whole world!”