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Fossil News



Scientists cast doubt on dinosaur eggs
    LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuter) - French scientists reported on Thursday they had
found a 70 million-year-old fossil belonging to a bird that may have been as big
as the modern ostrich.
    And they said some fossil eggs, found in southern France and previously
assigned to dinosaurs, could actually be bird eggs.
    In a letter to the weekly magazine Nature, the four scientists said the
fossil was part of a bird's pelvis.
    "Although the proportions of the complete skeleton cannot be reconstructed,
there is no doubt that it was indeed large," they said.
    The scientists, from Paris, Vitrolles and France's Dinosaur Museum,
suggested a possible rethink over the discovery of hundreds of thousands of
fossilised dinosaur eggs.
    "The assumption that all those eggs are dinosaur eggs should be treated with
caution," they wrote.
    Reports of a huge nest full of dinosaur eggs in the southern Pyrenees
mountains were carried in Nature last month.
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Priceless fossils destroyed in Los Angeles
    LOS ANGELES, Sept 14 (Reuter) - Hundreds of priceless fossils have been
confined to the trash heap of history after a cleaning crew accidentally threw
them out, effectively wasting two years' of painstaking research.
    Some of these include remains thought to come from extinct species of a
bottle-nose dolphin and sea-lion, said Mary Urashima, a spokeswoman at the Mesa
Consolidated Water District which oversaw the dig south of Los Angeles.
    They were part of a collection of 3,000 fossils, up to 300,000 years old,
that had been dug up and catalogued by a team of paleontologists brought in by
the Water District which was landscaping an old reservoir, Urashima said on
Thursday.
    The items were stored in nearby buildings owned by the local school district
as the officials planned the best way to present them to the public. But
unbeknown to them, the school district sent in a crew to clean out the buildings
and -- as it turned out -- about half of the fossils.
    "They were put in a dumpster which was delivered to a landfill," Urashima
said. "The fossils are probably 20-25 feet (six to seven metres) below the
surface, they've been compacted, probably crushed, destroyed."
    She said the disposal took place about a month ago and has only just come to
light. "It's a tragedy, we've been very distraught," she said.
    Some fossils were untouched. These include remains from an extinct horse,
some mastodon molars, and pinecones that indicate a massive climate change since
the area is now arid. No human remains were found, she said.
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