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Texas dinosaur among oldest of its kind

    DALLAS (Reuter) - An amateur paleontologist has unearthed the bones of
what is believed to be the oldest specimen of a duckbilled dinosaur found in
Texas and among the oldest in North America, a scientist said Thursday. 
    The fossil has been identified as a nine-foot hadrosaur that lived 96
million years ago, said Southern Methodist University paleontologist Louis
    The discovery came two weeks ago during a fossil hunt by amateur
paleontologist Gary Byrd, who uncovered a group of bones and took them to the
Dallas Museum of Natural History for identification. 
    After a university graduate student established the significance of the
discovery by identifying the toe bone of an early duckbilled dinosaur,
researchers excavated the site and recovered additional bones, including a
skull, several ribs and numerous unidentified bones. 
    ``The major significance of the fossil is that it represents a new wave
of dinosaurs coming into this area at the beginning of the last phase of
dinosaur history,'' said Jacobs. 
    ``Duckbill fossils 20 million years younger, from the end of the dinosaur
reign, are common in North America and have been the subject of considerable
research, but research on early duckbills has lagged behind because of a
dearth of quality fossils,'' said Jacobs.  REUTER

Transmitted: 94-12-08 19:53:19 EST