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Sereno in Seattle
From: Ben Creisler firstname.lastname@example.org
Sereno in Seattle
Now that things have calmed down a bit in Seattle (the
earthquake knocked over one of my bookcases--fortunately
boxes of photocopies all over the place cushioned the
impacts) I attended a National Geographic lecture
featuring Paul Sereno. There were no major revelations
for anybody who keeps up with the mailing list and current
literature, and has checked Paul's website
(http://www.dinosaurexpedition.org/ ) and press releases
regularly. I'd seen all the video material on National
Geographic Explorer on cable over the past few years.
Still, there were a few interesting news items I'll pass
along, though some may not be news for everybody.
Paul was just back from Inner Mongolia and a few weeks
earlier had left work in India just days before the major
earthquake struck there. He described the latest field
season in Niger "as the best ever."
Latest Expedition Goodies Arrive
The container with 20 tons of extracted bones and sacks of
sediment that may contain mammal teeth arrived in Chicago
on Tuesday (3-6-2001). Preparation will begin as soon as
Feathered Road-kill Theropod from China
Paul mentioned in passing a new specimen from China yet to
be described: a feathered theropod preserved in a road-
kill posture that shows the complete pattern of
integument. The forelimbs have small feathers on the
trailing edge while the lower legs are bare. He didn't
mention if the tail had feathers too. The specimen should
be described soon so artists take note. (Paul is not an
author on this one as far as I know and he didn't have any
Complete Sequence of Asteroid Impact
A core taken off the coast of Texas documents the complete
sequence of events after the Chicxulub impact -- chunks of
the asteroid, then layers of ash and dust, and finally
barren sediments indicating a biological desert. The paper
about this find may already have appeared.
Cranial and post cranial remains of a giant 40 foot
Sacrosuchus with a 6 foot skull will be described soon.
Odd Duck-billed Croc
Paul showed the actual fossil skull of a new small
crocodile with a very broad flat head with flange like
projections on either side of the rostral end of the upper
jaw. The animal would have been about 3 ft long in life.
New Dinosaurs, etc., from Niger
Finds include postcranial material for Nigersaurus, some
new sauropods, new ornithopods and a new small theropod
(already discussed on the mailing list), plus a folded
wing from a very large pterosaur (20-25 ft span). This
stuff has been mentioned on the expedition's website.
Spinosaurus Gets T. rex in Jurassic Park III
Paul feigned annoyance that JP III ripped off Suchomimus
to recreate Spinosaurus. Apparently Spinosaurus takes on
T. rex and wins. Maybe they armwrestle.
Does sauropod foot-pad size indicate weight distribution?
The weight distribution between front and back limbs in
sauropods may be indicated by the size of feet and track
prints--Jobaria has a 40/60 weight distribution between
front and back limbs compared to a 60/40 front/back weight
distribution in African elephants. Since the front foot
pads of elephants are larger than the back foot-pads,
weight distribution and foot-pad size appear to be
correlated among elephants at least. This idea remains
pretty speculative for now for dinosaurs and I would
question if the same supposed foot-pad/weight
correspondence would apply to the foot/track size of front
and back prints for other quadrupedal dinosaurs such as
hadrosaurs, ceratopsians, or ankylosaurs.