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Re: Discovery Channel's "Beasts in Your Back Yard"



"T. Mike Keesey" wrote:

> I'm in California (specifically, 90025) which has, I think, just one
> Mesozoic dinosaur fossil (an indeterminate hadrosaur). For me it came up
> with _Nodosaurus_!

California is not a great place to look for dinosaur fossils, but several
hadrosaur specimens, including something like _Saurolophus_, plus the 
ankylosaur,
plus a theropod fossil have been found here within a total of six different 
fossil
sites.  The armored dinosaur and the _Saurolophus_-like specimen were in better
shape than the rest of them.  California's dinosaurs are mostly preserved as
fragments of bone in a rock matrix of marine origin.  You can see a few of these
scraps in the article, "Dinosaurs in California?  A Menagerie of Reptiles Once
Roamed the Pacific Coast," by Frank De Courten, in _Pacific Discovery_, Summer
1997, published by the California Academy of Sciences.

It is likely that dinosaur carcasses were torn apart by sharks, mosasaurs, and
plesiosaurs (among other things) as they drifted out to sea before the leftovers
settled on the ocean floor to eventually become fossils. California's dinosaur
fossils are all Cretaceous, and all but the hypsilophodont are from the last 20
million years of the Cretaceous.  Compared to the dinosaur resources of Alberta 
or
Mongolia, California's dinosaurs are nothing to write home about, but still...

-- Ralph W. Miller III   ralph.miller@alumni.usc.edu

"Posterity my cloaca!  It's a free lunch!"