Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mummified Dinosaur Rocks World of Science

Dakota, named after her discovery in North Dakota is no ordinary dinosaur find. The 67 million year old hadrosaur has begun unlocking secrets to the evolution of dinosaurs. This herbivore was mummified then fossilized preserving tendons and ligaments. It is very common to only find fossilized bones of dinosaurs, and very rare to find them joined together as they would be in real life. Some paleontologists say that if you find a complete fossilized dinosaur skeleton within your lifetime, you have hit the jackpot. For such an epic and preserved find the body had to come by many specific circumstances. The hadrosaur had to escape predators, scavengers, as well as decomposition due to the elements. Before bacteria was able to consume the tissue, it is believed to have been mineralized through a chemical process. It is miraculous how such an important specimen to science survived undamaged for approximately 67 million years. Using a CT scanner paleontologists were able to discover exactly how much muscle was in between the bones and skin of the tail. Dinosaurs are now believed to be even larger than first thought. The muscles at the base of the tail prove that this dinosaur moved much faster than predicted. A whopping estimate of 45 kilometers per hour. The muscle mass at the rear end of Dakota was calculated at 25% larger than first believed. This is an incredible find. Are all dinosaurs bigger and faster than first thought? Would mankind survive against these colossal reptiles? Will we ever find preserved cells leading to possible cloning? Would it really be a smart idea? All we can do is keep digging.