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Dinosaur Found Alive in Africa

Dinosaur Found Alive in Africa

Guda Haiku

AFRICA (4/1/96) -- Scientists revealed today that a live dinosaur was
captured and later lost in sub-Saharan Africa.

Two weeks ago, a film crew for the television show <I>Nova</I> was following
a family of wild African dogs for a documentary on social pack structure.
While setting up cameras in a stand of trees, a large, bipedal creature
rushed the crew.  Fortunately for the crew, their African guides were well
armed with tranquilizer guns and were able to bring the beast down.  It was
then transported by helicopter to a local nature preserve and veterinary
hospital with an enclosure large enough to hold the beast.  Paleontologists
and biologists from around the world were summoned to examine the creature.

The creature is bipedal, approximately six feet tall at the hips, and
approximately 22 feet long.  Scientists have classified it as an allosaurid,
a large theropod (carnivorous) dinosaur thought to have become extinct at
the end of the Jurassic period over 140 million years ago.

Dr. Thom Hutz of the University of Montana, and noted paleontologist, stated
that "...the three fingered manus [hand] and lacrimal horns clearly show
this is a type of allosaurid.  This particular allosaur is one never before
seen even in the fossil record, and therefore represents a new species.
Finding this dinosaur...<I>any</I> dinosaur...alive, today, is incredible.
I was skeptical at first, but this is clearly a dinosaur."

George Olsen, author, disagrees.  "This is clearly a bird.  The current
paradigm of birds evolving from dinosaurs simply doesn't make any sense from
an anatomical standpoint.  Birds came first, and dinosaurs evolved from
them.  Theropods are offshoots off the bird family tree.  However, modern
birds have evolved far enough that they are now completely something else.
Therefore dinosaurs aren't birds, and birds aren't dinosaurs, so this
[animal] is clearly a dinosaur...although it's really a bird."

Complicating the long standing argument over bird ancestry is the fact that,
as Dr. Hutz puts it, "...this creature is covered by a buttload of
feathers."  The feathers are small and colored in dull browns and greens
typical of African camouflage patterns.  The dinosaur also exhibits other
bird like characteristics, such as moving its arms in an up-and-down pattern
akin to flapping, and making a cry similar to the caw of a crow.  Ronald
Holstein of the Pan-national Wildlife Federation, and an ornithologist,
likened the behavior to "... a chicken running around a barnyard squawking
its fool head off."

Other ornithologists dispute whether the presence of feathers and its
bird-like behavior prove the dinosaurian ancestry of birds.  Dr. Alan Fudd,
a noted ornithologist who is opposed to the idea that birds descended from
dinosaurs, stated that "this animal makes no sense" and challenged the way
Dr. Hutz and his colleagues have linked their find to the development of
birds.  "I have no faith in their conclusions whatsoever," he said. "It is a
stretch of credulity. There are numerous animals with bizarre anatomical
features. Maybe it is a nuclear-age mutant or the result of alien
experimentation. That would make more sense."

Unfortunately, the animal is no longer available for study by the world's
scientists.  Soon after learning of the animal's capture, PETA (People for
the Ethical Treatment of Animals) sent 150 of its members to Africa to
protect and free the animal.  Upon arrival, the PETA members forced their
way into the enclosure in which the dinosaur was kept.  To prevent
scientists from tranquilizing the animal and subjecting it to further tests,
most of the individuals formed a circle around the animal, singing <I>Born
Free</I>, while others attempted to open the enclosure gate.  Unfortunately,
since the dinosaur had not yet been tranquilized, several PETA members were
eaten before the gate was opened and the animal escaped.  The dinosaur has
not yet been recaptured.

Plans are currently underway to return to the area where the animal was
captured.  Scientists are uncertain whether they will recapture the animal
or observe it in its natural habitat.  They refuse to speculate on whether
other individuals of this species will be found, or if other species of
dinosaurs will be found.  However, scientists are optimistic that they will
at least find other individuals of the captured dinosaur's species.  "It
didn't just spring from the dust like a dinosaurian Adam," a biologist, who
wished to remain anonymous, said, "no matter what Duane Gish may believe."

*National Science Daily.

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