dinosaur museum

September 2020 Newsletter

FROM THE EDUCATION DESK

Autumn is my favorite time of the year! I love the turning of the leaves and all of the different colors that come with that happening! September comes from the old Roman word “septem” meaning “seven”. In the Roman calendar it was the seventh month. A lot has happened in this month. The name “United States” came into being on September 9, 1776. Confucius, Freddie Mercury, Lance Armstrong among others were all born in this month. September’s birthstone is the sapphire and Labor Day is the first Monday of September. It became a federal holiday in 1894. It is also National Happy Cat Month and National Hug your Hound Day. On September 11, 2001 the Twin Towers attack occurred. This is a day we will ALWAYS remember and NEVER FORGET!

FYI: A Dinosaur “Stomping Ground”

The Isle of Skye sits off the northwest coast of Scotland with landscape very different from millions of years ago. After a storm in 2017 on Brother’s Point, grapefruit size prints were found in two fossil sites that preserve some 50 dinosaur footprints. Among them was a type of track that has never before been documented on the island. These dinosaurs lived about 170 million years ago. At least three types of dinosaurs left footprints on the edge of a brackish lagoon. The tracks date from a time in the middle of the Jurassic Period represented by very few dinosaur fossil discoveries worldwide. These tracks are only exposed at low tide. A first set of dinosaur prints were found in 2015.

Three toed footprints with sharp claws appear to have been made by a jeep-sized, two-legged, carnivorous dinosaur from a group called theropods. Bigger three toed footprints with blunter toes may have been left by large bodied two-legged plant-eaters called ornithopods or perhaps by a large theropod. “ The tracks made by what appears to be a Stegosaurus (Deltapodus tracks) represent some of the oldest evidence anywhere of a stegosaur,” lead author Paige dePolo said. These tracks give good evidence that stegosaurs lived on Skye at this time. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. “ We think this stegosaur was about the size of a cow, which is small for a stegosaur”, explains Steve Brusatte who led the research field team. Previously discovered Isle of Skye footprints were made by large four-legged plant eaters with long necks, long tails and pillar-like legs.

Skye has emerged as one of the most important windows into Jurassic dinosaur evolution. We know that dinosaurs were diversifying in the Middle Jurassic, but there are few fossil sites of this age anywhere in the world. “This is a snapshot at the beginning of the era of dinosaur dominance, the dinosaur empire” said Brusatte. Because of the number of fossils found Brothers Point has been nicknamed Dinosaur Isle.

Geri Lebold
Education Director

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and the road downhill all the way to your door.

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