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New Chinese thyreophoran (Crichton's "ankylosaur")
Apologies in advance if this has been mentioned before, but a new species of
basal thyreophoran has been announced, from the Early Jurassic of China.
CNN already had a story on this critter, but this article gives the name
(presumably before publication, tut tut).
WARNING: This article features a _nomen nudum_.
The man behind ?Jurassic Park? finally has a real-life dinosaur named
after him: Bienosaurus crichtonii, an armored plant eater that lived about
180 million years ago. ?For a person like me, this is much better than an
Academy Award,? author Michael Crichton said.
CRICHTON?S NOVEL about a dinosaur-cloning experiment gone awry
spawned the movie ?Jurassic Park,? as well as a book-film sequel titled ?The
Lost World.? Those works have gained immense popularity in China ? and that
fame, in turn, inspired Chinese paleontologists to work Crichton?s name into
the scientific designation for the newly identified species.
The scientific name was announced Tuesday during a ceremony at the
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, attended by Crichton and Dong
Zhiming of Beijing?s Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and
?We are living in the greatest era of dinosaur discovery in history,?
Crichton said. ?And Dong Zhiming has discovered more of these fascinating
creatures than anyone else. I?m honored that he?s named a new species for
Identification of the new species came after years of analysis
conducted on an incomplete lower jaw and fragments of the skull. The fossils
were found in 1938 in southern China?s fossil-rich Lufeng Basin by
researcher Mai N. Bien ? which accounts for the ?Bienosaurus? part of the
Dong describes ?Crichton?s ankylosaurus? in a book titled ?Mesozoic
Vertebrate Life,? to be published next summer. He believes the creature
stood about 3 feet tall and most likely walked on its two hind legs. It had
armor on its cheeks and a distinctive, curved row of small leaf-shaped
teeth, he said.
Bienosaurus lived in the Early Jurassic Period and thus appears to
rank among the earliest armored dinosaurs.
Dong presented casts of skull bones from the dinosaur to Crichton
during the ceremony, and Crichton lent the casts to the ?Dinosaurs of
Jurassic Park: The Lost World? traveling exhibit, which is on display at the
museum through Jan. 15. The exhibit features dinosaur skeletons and props
from the films, directed by Steven Spielberg.
?It?s fitting that a significant new Jurassic Period animal be named
for the man who has done most to make ?Jurassic? a household word, and by
the scientist who has named more dinosaurs than any researcher,? said ?Dino?
Don Lessem, a dinosaur consultant who helped organize the event and the
Lessem is also involved in efforts to produce models of ?Jurassic
Park? dinosaurs as well as Argentinosaurus, thought to be the biggest
dinosaur yet to be identified.
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