dinosaur museum

January 2019 Newsletter

FROM THE EDUCATION DESK

Happy New Year!! I wish for all of you a coming year of hope, love, wonderful friendships, a happy family and an outlook on life and your future that will allow you to be joyous and thrive.

FYI:   The Dynamoterror, a relative of Tyrannosaurs rex, lived millions of years before other known species of tyrannosaur

Dynamoterror dynastes was a tyrannosaur about 30 feet long and found in 80 million year old rock of New Mexico’s Menefee Formation in 2012. Its name means “powerful terror ruler”. The expedition was led by paleontologist Andrew McDonald and Douglas Wolfe, CEO of the Zuni Dinosaur Institute for Geosciences. Volunteer Eric Gutierrez found fragmented bones spilling out of the sandstone. Dinosaurs are hard to find in this part of the San Juan Basin, making almost any find worth noting, but initial clues indicated this find was something special. “We could tell that it was a large theropod from the large fragments of hollow limb bones,“ McDonald said. Time has broken and scattered the bones and it has taken years of puzzling together the recovered pieces before the important fragments of a pair of skull bones called frontals were found. When these were pieced together they revealed the fossil’s identity as a previously unknown tyrannosaur.

Dynamoterror was about 30 feet long, hunting prey during the Late Cretaceous. (Illustration by Brian Engh / Western Science Center)

The dinosaur is described in PeerJ. Although the fossil is scrappy, it still adds context to the broader and important picture of the roughly 25 distinct tyrannosaurs known so far. Historic finds in Alberta and Montana revealed communities of dinosaurs such as horned dinosaurs, tyrannosaurs, armored dinosaurs and more. Fossils found in southern rocks of the same age were often given the same names as the northern species. In the past 30 years research has found that dinosaurs found in Utah, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico are not the same as those found in the north. Dynamoterror is an important part of this story as it comes from an area with few known fossils. No dinosaur had been named from the Menefee Formation until earlier this year, when an armored dinosaur called Invictarx was identified. Dynamoterror is now the second.

Geri Lebold
Education Director

We love seeing you! Check out the changes in our Marine Room and let us know what you think. We are interested in your opinion…just fill out one of our comment cards and put it in the yellow box by the big lab windows. Thanks so much for doing this as it keeps us on our toes.

 

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