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




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
<<

What I think may be the problem is that nobody has really looked in
California. The majority of finds are found during construction. I'm hopeing
to some day look or help 'fund' expiditions in California. The same thing
could be said for Arizona, of which several new dinosaur sites are known.
Another problem is that all the dinosaurs found west of the San Andreas
fault is actually from Mexico due to plate tectonics, so we can exclude the
San Diego Ankylosaur (and bits of hadrosaur) from actually being from
California. The Fresno material is on the North American Plate so they are
'true' Californian dinosaurs. So, when they ask what dinosaur is from the
San Deigo area, they mean from the Late Cretaceous Southern Mexico!

Tracy