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Re: Baby dinosaurs east of the Mississippi -- YES!

Thanks Ralph,

    Actually none of the Sauropod sub-adult bodes found in the Early
Cretaceous of Maryland (Arundel Clay) were from HATCHLING(S), per se (which
is what I was looking to find in my dinolist query of June 5, 2000).
Instead those bones were sub-adult, and, depending upon where one starts
distinguishing sub-adult Sauropods from babies (much less HATCHLINGS, per
se), some might say they were from "babies", but they were definitely not
small enough to be called "hatchling", by any stretch of the imagination.
Some of Maryland's smallest Sauropod bones may be seen in a photograph on
page 713 of Donald F. Glut's, DINOSAURS The Encyclopedia, ISBN
0-89950-917-7.  In that book, they are assigned to Pleurocoelus, with
Astrodon being considered a nomen dubium (as at the Smithsonian), even
though RECENT (Sorry, I do not have the reference handy, but if I come
across it I will post it.) skeletal studies suggest that Astrodon and
Pleurocoelus might better be considered distinct from one another.

    Are those bones housed at the Smithsonian (Natural History) out of the
same geo-stratigraphic 'neck-of-the-woods' as the sub-adult and (even some)
baby Sauropod tracks I have found in Maryland?  They are out of the same
Potomac Group, but being recorded in endurated sediment instead of in the
un-endurated Arundel Clay, per se, we can only (at this point) make
reasonably informed guesses (based on our paleo-pollen studies) about
whether they are precisely contemporary to the Sauropod bones and teeth
found, primarily, in the blue/gray Arundel clay.  Tom Lipka (of this list)
may be able to help on this, because he's done some considerable work on it.

    You bet, Ralph, that Sauropod babies must have been cute, if footprints
such as constitute a little hatchling Sauropod trackway [apparently the
Brontopodus birdi ichnospecies] I found in the Commanchean of Texas (Travis
County) [NOT in Maryland] may be taken as an index.  That's surely why so
many of the ladies (and even a few nurturing-type guys) who see the little
trackway declare things like, "OH! That's SO CUTE!  What an absolutely
darling little Sauropod trackmaker!   I feel just like I'd want to pick it
up and..."  [Gosh, I hope Disney isn't watching!  ;) ]

    Following up on what you said, Ralph.  Yes, my two recent Maryland finds
of Sauropod manus/pes track sets, in both cases with the manus imprint
around 9-10 cm across and the pes imprint at 16 cm across, look as though
some of the documented Arundel Sauropod bones might have come from animals
of approximately the right size as to have left the two manus/pes sets (both
slabs show left-side imprint sets), which were recovered around forty miles
apart, and which are in different substrate types.

    One might justifiably ask, " So, when will you get scientific
descriptions of such finds as these into respectable publication(s)?"  And,
I must confess, "Probably as soon as I can control the compulsion to go out
and find tracks for long enough to do so!".  It will not be so long, now.
Yet, publishers' lead times are a bit annoying, if necessary.

    Meantime, let's keep on tracking.  No telling where one might spot
tracks if alert to the possibilities in the right geological localities.  I
was chasing a neighbor's cat away from the fully fledged 'avian dinosaurs'
in my back yard just the other day, and stumbled on a tri-dactyl
(three-toed) Early Cretaceous track underneath the lilac bush!  Heck, that
one could have really kicked the ass of my neighbor's kitty!  :^)

    Ray Stanford

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gigi and Ralph" <gbabcock@best.com>
To: "Ray Stanford" <dinotracker@earthlink.net>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2000 2:10 PM
Subject: Baby dinosaurs east of the Mississippi -- YES!

At times like this, I'm only too happy to be wrong!  Some time back, Ray
Stanford had asked if any dinosaur eggs or babies had been found east of the
Mississippi.  Based on the global maps on pp. 10-11 of Kenneth Carpenter's
_Eggs, Nests, and Baby Dinosaurs: A Look at Dinosaur Reproduction_, I stated
that there was only one such occurrence, the Campanian dinosaur (?) egg from
Harrell Station, Alabama.  WRONG!

On p. 18 of the same volume, Carpenter states:

"Baby sauropod bones have been found in Maryland not far from the nation's
capital and were first described by Othniel Charles Marsh in 1888."

I'm not sure about this, but it may be described in the following paper
in the bibliography):

"Marsh, O. C. 1888. Notice of a new genus of Sauropoda and other new
from the Potomac Formation.  _American Journal of Science_, v. 35, pp.

Jeez, Ray!  That's your territory, isn't it?  I wonder if your baby sauropod
track is from the same strata.

-- Ralph W. Miller III      gbabcock@best.com

C'mon, admit it -- baby sauropods must have been cute!