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Re: New Zealand Dinosaurs

> This is for John, but others may be interested too:)
> I have in front of me 'The Great New Zealand Fossil Book' by Ron 
> Brazier _et al._ 1990 (ISBN 0-477-02601-x).  I am afraid that when it 
> was written only Hawkes Bay dinosaurs are mentioned.  I know of no 
> other discoveries than those.

Essentially all of the New Zealand dinosaurs have been described
from the Hawkes Bay region.  In fact they've pretty 
much all been found by the Hawkes Bay Palaeontology society 
founded by the dreams of Joan Wiffen.

Her book "Valley of Dragons" is really worth reading to show how 
much can be achieved by determined amateurs.  The upshot is 
that the 'professional' palaeontologists deemed that dinosaur 
fossils would not be found in any New Zealand strata and didn't 
bother looking.

Joan didn't realise this and started looking in a place which had been 
marked 'some reptile bone material' on a map of the Hawkes Bay area.

She found repltile bones aplenty in the rocks from a near shore 
environment, Plesiosaurs, Mosasaurs and the like. 
She also found some fragments of dinosaur bone.  These had 
been washed out to sea, which explains why the evidence is 
so sparce and it is unlikely that a complete skeleton will 
ever be found.
> One caudal vertebra was described in 1981 and two 'toe bones' have 
> also been found of theropods.  The other bone fragment found there 
> was part of the illium of an ornithopod (similar to a hypsolophodont 
> form).  

> I am sure more has been found since then though?  Any New 
> Zealanders to comment???

There are several boxes of bones waiting formal description.  This 
is largely because there are so few qualified vertebrate palaeontologists
here (anyone want a holiday in Hawkes Bay?  Tom?).  Last news I heard 
was of some ankylosaur bone fragments.

The current assumption is that the fauna is pretty much the same as that 
being uncovered at Dinosaur Cove near Melbourne in Australia
(we were much closer then) so the article in Scientific American
about 2 years ago should give a good impression of the possibilities
(I'll find the date and volume info later if anyone is intersted).

--- Derek Tearne