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Sonoita Dinosaur



Newspaper article: "Sonoita dinosaur may be new variety" in the *Sierra 
Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review*, 25 July 1995, by Arthur H. Rotstein (AP).
     A paleontologist unearthing bones near Sonoita says an expedition to
the world's biggest dinosaur collection has strengthened speculation that 
the dinosaur he's unearthing could be a new variety.
     Ron Ratkevich, paleontologist at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum,
brought photos of the fossilized bones of a 100-million-year-old dinosaur 
to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
     He and two team members spent three days and nights researching
dinosaur specimens at the museum before returning to Tucson last week.
     "We went from floor to ceiling looking at thousands of specimens,"
Ratkevich said Monday.
     "We learned what we don't have and what we do. There's still a lot of
research to be done," he said. "Some of the bones we're finding really don't 
match a lot of what we saw there, so our speculation early on that we had 
something new is getting stronger."
     Gene Gaffney, a curator at the American Museum who formerly headed its
dinosaur collection, said, "New discoveries like Ratkevich's, whether they're
a new species or not, are important. Finding decent specimens is not that
common."
     The dinosaur Ratkevich and his team are digging up is thought to have
been a plant-eater that walked on its hind feet.
     The fossilized skeleton is lodged in sandstone deposits on a remote,
rocky hillside about 50 miles southeast of Tucson. It's in a 5-square-mile
area of state-owned land that Ratkevich has named "the Valley of the
Dinosaurs" because there are signs of them throughout the area.
     Some of the bones he and his team have found are larger than the
largest plant-eaters, or ornithopods, found at the American Museum,
Ratkevich said. "So it gives us a much larger animal than we originally
thought we had."
     The animal probably was longer and heavier than a 30-foot long,
three-ton giant duck-billed dinosaur, based on the measurement of a lower
leg bone, Ratkevich said. The Arizona dinosaur's fibula was 4 feet long --
at least a foot longer than the duck-billed dinosaur at the New York
museum. But Gaffney said his institution does not have the largest
duck-billed dinosaur specimen.

Terry
P.S.: This location is between 15-20 miles to the NW.